Lynyrd Skynyrd Drummer Robert “Bob” Burns Jr. died Friday night in a car crash in Georgia, according to CNN.
Burns, who lived in northern Georgia, was 64.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. His Car Went Off the Road While He Was Driving Home
The Georgia State Patrol told CNN that Burns died after his car hit a mailbox and tree in Cartersville. No other cars were involved in the crash and Burns was alone. He was not wearing a seatbelt, police said.
According to TMZ.com, Burns veered his 1995 Buick Roadmaster off the road and hit a curb, before striking the mailbox and tree. TMZ reports that Burns was alive when paramedics arrived, but died at the scene. There were no signs that drugs or alcohol were involved, according to TMZ.
2. He Was One of the Band’s Founding Members
Burns was the original drummer in the iconic Southern rock band, which formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1964. The band, named for a high school gym teacher, also included lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins and bassist Larry Junstrom.
Burns was the drummer on some of the band’s most well known songs, including Free Bird, Sweet Home Alabama and Gimme Three Steps. He left the band in 1974 because he was “exhausted by touring,” according to the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame biography.
3. He Left the Band Before a Plane Crash Killed 3 of His Former Bandmates in 1977
A plane crash in 1977 killed band members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick and two pilots. Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, drummer Artimus Pyle (Burns’ replacement) and other passengers survived with serious injuries.
The plane, a Convair CV-300, was headed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana after a show in Greenville, South Carolina when it went down in a heavily wooded area in northeast Mississippi.
4. Lynyrd Skynyrd Still Tours With the Band’s Original Guitarist
Lynyrd Skynyrd continues to tour with Rossington on guitar. Burns played with the band in 2006 at its induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Rossington posted on the band’s Facebook page about Burns’ death:
5. Burns Had Recently Played With a Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Band
Burns made appearances with the Artimus Pyle Band, a tribute band to Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band posted on Facebook:
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