Ed King, the southern rock pioneer from the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, died on Thursday. The news of his demise was announced on his official Facebook page account. The co-writer of Southern rock anthem “Sweet Home Alabama,” died at his home in Nashville. The cause of death was not revealed but rock music bible Rolling Stone said he had been battling lung cancer. The former rock star was 68 when he breathed his last.
The Facebook post of the official band account read, “It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Ed King who died at his home in Nashville, Tennesse on August 22nd, 2018. We thank his many friends and fans for their love and support for Ed during his life and career.”
Guitarist Gary Rossington took to Lynyrd Skynyrd's official Twitter account to voice his shock over King's death. "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," he wrote.
I’ve just found out about Ed’s passing and I’m shocked and saddened. 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. -Gary Rossington— Lynyrd Skynyrd (@Skynyrd) August 23, 2018
King, originally from California, spent three years in the band in the early 1970s, appearing on three albums, but quit after bust-ups with frontman Ronnie Van Zant. The band broke up after a 1977 plane crash that killed three of its members, including Van Zant. It reformed with King on board in 1987, with Van Zant's younger brother, Johnny, on lead vocals.
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King retired nine years into the reunion period and subsequently suffered various health problems. He was one of three writers of the anthemic "Sweet Home Alabama," from the 1974 album "Second Helping", and can be heard counting in the band at the start of the track.
As the news of the guitarist's death reached his friends and fans, tributes started pouring in.
RIP Ed King pic.twitter.com/QdmpgqdvVA— marc maron (@marcmaron) August 23, 2018
Remembering the one and only Mr. “Sweet Home Alabama”, Ed King. Very sad to hear of his passing. His work with Strawberry Alarm Clock and ofcourse Lynyrd Skynyrd will forever be remembered. pic.twitter.com/VQ86DvxBvz— Black Stone Cherry (@BlkStoneCherry) August 23, 2018
RIP original member of Lynyrd Skynyrd Ed King. I really liked meeting him making that doc about the band with @VH1 back in the day. In this 3rd pic he’s playing that great opening lick from Sweet Home Alabama. pic.twitter.com/t74YSCTqRf— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) August 23, 2018
Rest in peace, Ed King. pic.twitter.com/3tFU3aZVbm— Rock History In Pics (@RockHistoryPix) August 23, 2018
It deeply saddens me to hear that Ed King has passed away. He was a sweet friend & rock legend with a heart of gold. Helping his precious wife, Sharon, surprise him with this 1956 Fender Stratocaster at The Catbird Seat. Rest in Paradise Ed ❤️ pic.twitter.com/3DPltCTaOZ
— Paige LaRae ♡ (@paigelarae) August 23, 2018