follow Tommie on twitter

Thursday, January 29, 2009

And Then There Was One...

Lynyrd Skynyrd has lost another member. Piano player Billy Powell died yesterday morning at his home in a suburb of Jacksonville, Florida. He was 56. A survivor of the band's plane crash in 1977, Powell called 911 shortly before 1 am saying he was having difficulty breathing. His niece answered the door and had no idea why the paramedics were there until Powell called out from his bedroom. They performed CPR, but he was pronounced dead shortly before 2 am with the police saying he died of natural causes. Powell had an appointment with a cardiologist on Tuesday but never showed up. He underwent hip replacement surgery last May, and in the summer of 2006 he did a stint in rehab.
Skynyrd was scheduled to perform in Louisiana tomorrow night and Mississippi on Saturday, but those shows have been canceled.
Singer Johnny Van Zant told the Florida Times-Union, "You know, they say they've got one hell of a band up in heaven."
Gary Rossington, the last surviving member from the plane crash still with the band, has not issued a statement, but Van Zant says, "He's hurting. He was very sad and wondering why all us brothers are leaving him, why he's still here."
Skynyrd's tragic history started with the 1977 plane crash that killed singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister, back-up singer Cassie Gaines. Guitarist Allen Collins died in 1990, bassist Leon Wilkerson in 2001 and guitarist Hughie Thomasson in 2007. Both Collins and Thomasson were out of the band when they died. Powell leaves behind a wife and four children.