(CNN)Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington is recovering after undergoing emergency heart surgery, the band said on its Facebook page.
Rossington, the band’s only original member still playing in the current iteration, is “home resting and recovering with his family,” according to the post on Friday. “He wants everyone to know he is doing good and expects a full recovery,” it said, adding Rossington “encouraged the band to go perform in his absence.””We wish Gary a speedy recovery and we will see the Skynyrd Nation very soon!” Photos: A look back at Lynyrd SkynyrdOn this day 39 years ago, a plane crash claimed the lives of three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd: lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines. One of the band’s road managers was also killed, as were the pilot and the co-pilot, when the plane ran out of fuel and crash-landed in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Twenty people survived, although many were seriously injured. On the anniversary of the crash, we look back at some classic photos of the legendary band, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.Hide Caption 1 of 12 Photos: A look back at Lynyrd SkynyrdVan Zant performs at a concert in Atlanta in 1975. “Ronnie Van Zant was Lynyrd Skynyrd,” songwriter Al Kooper wrote for Rolling Stone magazine. “I don’t mean to demean the roles the others played in the group’s success, but it never would have happened without him. His lyrics were a big part of it — like Woody Guthrie and Merle Haggard before him, Ronnie knew how to cut to the chase. And Ronnie ran that band with an iron hand. I have never seen such internal discipline in a band.”Hide Caption 2 of 12 Photos: A look back at Lynyrd SkynyrdKooper, right, works in an Atlanta studio with members of the band: from left, Van Zant, Gary Rossington and Allen Collins. The band, from Jacksonville, Florida, was first formed as My Backyard in 1964. It changed names several times before settling on Lynyrd Skynyrd — a name mocking Leonard Skinner, a high school physical-education teacher that was strict about the school’s policy regarding boys with long hair.Hide Caption 3 of 12 Photos: A look back at Lynyrd SkynyrdVan Zant is interviewed in Atlanta in 1976. After the plane crash, the band broke up. It reformed in 1987 with Van Zant’s younger brother, Johnny, as the new lead singer. It still performs today. Rossington, a guitarist, is the only original member still in the group.Hide Caption 4 of 12 Photos: A look back at Lynyrd SkynyrdDrummer Artimus Pyle, right, and Collins party with a chimpanzee.Hide Caption 5 of 12 Photos: A look back at Lynyrd SkynyrdFrom left, Collins, Van Zant and Rossington perform in New York. The band’s “three-guitar lineup gave them an uncommon musical muscle, while their down-to-earth songs spoke plainly and honestly from a working-class Southerner’s perspective,” says their Hall of Fame biography.Hide Caption 6 of 12 Photos: A look back at Lynyrd SkynyrdWhile backstage, the band enjoys a cake from MCA Records. From left are Van Zant, Ed King, Rossington, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson, Pyle and Collins.Hide Caption 7 of 12 Photos: A look back at Lynyrd SkynyrdPyle, behind the scenes at RFK Stadium in Washington.Hide Caption 8 of 12 Photos: A look back at Lynyrd SkynyrdVan Zant, left, and Gaines perform on stage in 1976. The band’s iconic songs include “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird.”Hide Caption 9 of 12 Photos: A look back at Lynyrd SkynyrdProviding backup vocals for the band’s live performances were, from left, Cassie Gaines, Leslie Hawkins and JoJo Billingsley. Gaines and Van Zant were 29 years old when they died in the 1977 plane crash. Steve Gaines, Cassie’s younger brother, was 28.Hide Caption 10 of 12 Photos: A look back at Lynyrd SkynyrdMembers of the band party with friends in 1975.Hide Caption 11 of 12 Photos: A look back at Lynyrd SkynyrdVan Zant performs at RFK Stadium in Washington. Rolling Stone called Skynyrd “the quintessential Southern rock band … full of regional pride and stressing cocky, boisterous hard rock as opposed to the Allman Brothers’ more open-ended blues.”Hide Caption 12 of 12Rossington has had heart problems in the past. In a 2018 article examining the band’s history, the Tampa Bay Times reported the guitarist had previously survived quintuple bypass surgery. Read More”I’ve had heart attacks on stage a lot,” he told the paper.Lynyrd Skynyrd is currently on tour, 15 months after the band’s farewell tour was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a release on the band’s website. “COVID turned our world upside down. And since that time, we have been talking amongst the band, and realized that music has such a way of healing,” Rossington said in a statement in June. “Maybe it’s not our time to go,” he said. “And maybe it’s our time to lift people’s spirits and lives and bring back some joy and happiness after so much turmoil this past year.”