It’s a sad day for rock and roll: Robert “Bob” Burns, Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first drummer, died Friday night in a single-vehicle car crash in Georgia, after his vehicle went off-road and hit a mailbox and a tree. Police and Burns’ father confirmed the musician’s death to the Associated Press. He was 64.
Burns joined the Southern rock band in 1964 as one of its founding members, and recorded three of Skynyrd’s biggest hits: “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Free Bird,” and “Gimme Three Steps.” He left the group in 1974, but continued to play music and make guest appearances throughout his life.
Tragedy is no stranger to the band: In 1977, three of its members famously died in a plane crash in Mississippi.
Current and former Lynyrd Skynyrd members have spoken in memoriam of their late bandmate. Gary Rossington, one of the band’s founding members, wrote on Skynyrd’s official Facebook page:
Artimus Pyle, the drummer who replaced Burns, wrote on his own page:
Pyle also posted a video of Burns playing with Artimus Pyle Band in 2013: