The band announced Rossington’s procedure following Lynyrd Skynyrd’s concert Friday at the North Dakota State Fair, where they performed without Rossington, the last surviving original member of the Southern rock greats. Rossington and the band returned to the road for the first time in 15 months in June, but the guitarist had been absent from recent shows.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary Rossington as he recovers from emergency heart surgery. Gary is home resting and recovering with his family at home. He wants everyone to know he is doing good and expects a full recovery,” Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote on Facebook Friday.
“After this past year, the country being shut down and everything we have all been thru, The Rossington’s encouraged the band to go perform in his absence. Music is a powerful healer! We all felt playing the shows and bringing the music to y’all was a better option than cancelling the performances.”
As singer Johnny Van Zant told the crowd at a recent concert (via Ultimate Classic Rock), Rossington underwent surgery to “have an emergency stent put in his heart.” Rossington has past heart issues, suffering a heart attack in 2015 that required surgery, followed by a 2019 procedure to repair a heart valve that forced the postponement of a tour. However, despite having “heart attacks onstage a lot,” he’s warded off doctors’ pleas to retire from performing.
Guitarist Damon Johnson will serve as Rossington’s replacement during his recovery from the latest procedure. The band added Friday, “We wish Gary a speedy recovery and we will see the Skynyrd Nation very soon!”