Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ed King dies

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Ed King, pictured in 2006, co-wrote the hit song Sweet Home Alabama

Former Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ed King, who co-wrote the hit Sweet Home Alabama, has died aged 68.

The musician died at home in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday, according to a post on his Facebook page.

The cause of death is not known. According to Rolling Stone, he had been battling lung cancer.

King, who was born in California, joined the rock band in 1972. He left three years later after fighting with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant.

However, before he left he appeared on three albums, and can be heard counting "one, two, three" at the start of Sweet Home Alabama.

The group disbanded entirely following a plane crash which killed three of its members, including Van Zant, in 1977.

King rejoined Lynyrd Skynyrd after it reformed in 1987 for a reunion tour with Van Zant's younger brother, Johnny, on lead vocals.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
King, front right, with Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1974

But he retired in 1996, having been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. According to The Tennessean, King had a heart transplant in 2011.

King, who performed with Strawberry Alarm Clock before joining Lynyrd Skynyrd, was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, along with all the surviving members of the band from before the crash.

Fellow Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington said he was "shocked and saddened" by the news.

"Ed was our brother, and a great songwriter and guitar player," he said. "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."