Ex-Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ed King has passed away at the age of 68.
A post on King’s official Facebook page confirmed that he died at his home in Nashville, Tennesse on Wednesday 22nd August.
A cause of death was not revealed, however Rolling Stone reports that King has been battling lung cancer and had recently been hospitalised with the disease.
The Facebook post reads: “It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Ed King who died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee on August 22nd, 2018. We thank his many friends and fans for their love and support of Ed during his life and career.”
Born in Glendale, California in September 1949, King was a founding member of psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock in 1967 and the band enjoyed a number one hit Stateside with their track ‘Incense and Peppermints’.
He signed on with Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1972 originally as a temporary bassist before becoming a fully-fledged member of the band as their third guitarist.
During his first tenure, King co-wrote one of the band’s defining anthems, ‘Sweet Alabama’, and can be heard counting the “1, 2, 3” during the song’s intro.
Other songs he co-penned include ‘Poison Whiskey’, ‘Saturday Night Special’, ‘Whiskey Rock-a-Roller’ and ‘Workin' For MC’, and he also featured on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first three studio albums - ‘(Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd)’ (1973), ‘Second Helping’ (1974) and ‘Nuthin’ Fancy’ (1975).
Tired of in-band fighting, King quit Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1975 after Ronnie Van Zant lambasted him over a broken guitar string.
“I’m the hippie from Southern California. I’m not digging the violence part,” King said in 2018 documentary If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd.
“Ronnie and my guitar roadie who changed my strings were thrown in jail in Ann Arbor. They didn’t arrive … until 10 minutes before we went on. I had to play on old strings and I broke two strings during ‘Free Bird.’ After, Ronnie was riding me, and a lightbulb went off and I said, ‘That’s it.’ I went back to my room, packed up my stuff and left.”
King rejoined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1987 and played a pivotal role in reuniting the band. He was forced to leave the band in 1996 due to congestive heart failure.
Along with all the pre-1977 Plane crash members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
Ed King (centre) with Lynyrd Skynyrd in 2006 © REX/Shutterstock