Gone too soon! One week after Aretha Franklin passed away, the world lost another musical talent, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Ed King. We’ve got five facts to know about the late musician.
Lynyrd Skynyrd has tragically lost many of its band members since it was formed over 40 years ago — and the band just lost another. Ed King, who played the guitar from 1972 to 1975 and then from 1987 to 1996, passed away on August 23rd in his Nashville home at 68. The sad news was confirmed on his official Facebook account. Then Gary Rossington, 66, the only founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd still playing with the band, wrote a sweet tribute to the former member. “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 and Roll Heaven. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.” The world definitely lost a great talent today — Ed accomplished so much in his lifetime. See for yourself!
1. He had lung cancer.
Although the cause of Ed’s death hasn’t officially been revealed yet, the musician did have lung cancer. But before battling this, he dealt with other health problems. In fact, the reason he left Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1996 was because of congestive heart failure. And in 2011, the guitarist had a heart transplant.
2. Lynyrd Skynyrd wasn’t the only band he was in.
Ed may not have been one of the original founding members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, but he did create a different band all on his own — Strawberry Alarm Clock. Ever heard of them? The LA-based band is known for one popular song titled “Incense and Peppermints” that reached number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 list in 1967.
3. Ed co-wrote “Sweet Home Alabama.”
Talk about a classic! Ed didn’t just play the guitar for Lynyrd Skynyrd — he helped write one of their biggest hits. Not only that, but his voice was the one counting down in “Sweet Home Alabama” before the iconic guitar riff kicked off. He even delivered a “Woo!” after the last chorus. How cool is that?
4. He left the band the first time because of two broken guitar strings.
While Ed’s second departure was due to health issues, he said goodbye to Lynyrd Skynyrd for a very different reason in 1975. In the 2018 documentary If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd, the guitarist explained that the group was simply too violent for him. After playing on old strings and breaking two of them during “Free Bird,” he said Ronnie Van Zant, the band’s leading vocalist, gave him a really hard time. And with that, he left!
5. Ed was inducted into the 2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
After three Lynyrd Skynyrd members were killed in a tragic plane accident, the band took a hiatus before reuniting years later. But all of the members who played in the band before that were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, Ed being one of them. Such an amazing accomplishment!