Ed King, formerly the guitar player for arguably the greatest southern rock band of all time, Lynyrd Skynyrd, died yesterday, Wednesday, August 22nd, at the age of 68-years-old. In a Facebook post, his family said on Thursday that King died while in Nashville, Tennessee.
In their post, they wrote, “It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Ed King who died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee, on the 22nd of August, 2018.”
Thus far, it isn’t clear precisely how he died, but WTVF said he had been dealing with cancer in the past few months. In an additional post, Lynyrd Skynyrd co-founder, Gary Rossington, mourned the loss of King on their Twitter account.
The 66-year-old said he had just found out about Ed’s death and was “shocked and saddened” to hear about it. Mr. Rossington described Ed as their brother and a “great songwriter and guitar player.”
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 first became a member of the legendary “Sweet Home Alabama” songwriters in 1972, and King played a role in several of their tracks, including the aforementioned “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Poison Whiskey,” and “Saturday Night Special.”
Ed was in the band from 1972 until 1975, and then from 1987 until 1996. However, he left the band in 1996 due to heart problems, more specifically, congestive heart failure.
In 1977, three members of the band died in an airplane crash, which put the band to an abrupt halt. Ronnie Van Sant, Steve Gaines, and Cassie Gaines all died in the incident, and the remaining members waited an entire decade before finally reforming in 1987, and began a series of immensely popular concert tours.
In 2018, they revealed they were going to play their last tour, titled, the “Farewell Tour.” Perhaps, their most famous song is “Free Bird,” which has gone down in history as having one of the greatest guitar solos, although, in the last few years, people have criticized it for being gratuitous.