ed king lynyrd skynyrd death
CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 1976: Members of Southern Rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd (L-R Leon Wilkeson, Billy Powell, Gary Rossington, Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins) pose by their trailer backstage at an outdoor concert in October, 1976 in California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Fans of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd are in mourning this week after the group’s former guitarist Ed King, who co-wrote their hit “Sweet Home Alabama,” passed away. He was 68 years old.

Fox News reported that King’s death was confirmed on his Facebook page by his family who said he passed away at his home in Nashville, Tennessee.

“It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Ed King who died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee on August 22nd, 2018,” the family said in their statement “We thank his many friends and fans for their love and support of Ed during his life and career.”

King joined the band in 1972, replacing bassist Leon Wilkeson. He left the band in 1975 and was replaced by Steve Gaines, who was killed along with his sister Cassie and the band’s singer Ronnie Van Zant in a plane crash in 1977.

King returned to Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1987, remaining with the band until 1996, when he was forced to leave due to congestive heart failure. Though no cause of death has been reported, it has been stated that King was battling cancer in his final months.

As a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, King was beloved by millions of fans who appreciated the band’s strong southern values. With his song “Sweet Home Alabama,” King put into words the way millions of people who call the south home feel about where they come from.

Lynyrd Skynyrd founder Gary Rosington paid tribute to King on the band’s Twitter page.

“I’ve just found out about Ed’s passing and I’m shocked and saddened,” he wrote. “Ed was our brother, and a great Songwriter and Guitar player. I know he will be reunited with the rest of the boys in Rock & Roll Heaven. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sharon and his family.”

Though King has now passed, he will continue to live on through the beautiful music that he created. Rest in peace, Ed King!

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