April 3, 2023

The CMT Music Awards celebrated Southern rock band LYNYRD SKYNYRD this past weekend with an all-star tribute combining country music's biggest stars and some of the rock genre's most recognizable names.

On Sunday (April 2),Billy Gibbons, Chuck Leavell, Cody Johnson, Paul Rodgers, Slash and Warren Haynes honored LYNYRD SKYNYRD and original founding member Gary Rossington, who recently passed away, by performing the band's iconic tracks "Simple Man" and "Sweet Home Alabama". Johnson and Rodgers handled lead vocals with Gibbons, Slash and Haynes on electric guitar. LeAnn Rimes and Wynonna Judd joined as "The Honkettes."

The tribute was introduced by legendary rocker Peter Frampton, who praised Rossington as a "Southern rock icon" who "helped define a band's sound, and he inspired millions of fans and musicians" before joining his fellow bandmates "in rock and roll heaven"

The CMT performance came on the 50th anniversary of LYNYRD SKYNYRD's first album.

Dale Krantz Rossington, band member and wife of late guitarist Gary Rossington, attended the performance alongside fellow LYNYRD SKYNYRD band members Johnny Van Zant and Rickey Medlocke.

Kelsea Ballerini and Kane Brown hosted the 2023 CMT Music Awards, which aired live from Austin, Texas's Moody Center on the CBS television network.

Rossington was the last surviving founding member of LYNYRD SKYNYRD. On March 5, his bandmates announced the news of his death in a statement shared on their social media.

"It is with our deepest sympathy and sadness that we have to advise, that we lost our brother, friend, family member, songwriter and guitarist, Gary Rossington, today," they wrote.

"Gary is now with his SKYNYRD brothers and family in heaven and playing it pretty, like he always does," the group continued. "Please keep Dale, Mary, Annie and the entire Rossington family in your prayers and respect the family's privacy at this difficult time."

No cause of death was disclosed.

The guitarist had previously dealt with various heart problems throughout the years, including emergency heart surgery in 2021.

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