Lynyrd Skynyrd Ronnie Van Zant: Age 29 | Cause Of Death: AIRPLANE CRASH/ HELICOPTER

Ronnie Van Zant

(d. 20 October 1977)

With their tally of gold discs increasing each year and a series of sell-out tours, the band suffered an irrevocable setback in late 1977. On 20 October, Van Zant, Steve Gaines, his sister and backup singer, Cassie and manager Dean Kilpatrick were killed in a plane crash en route from Greenville, South Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (The twin-engine Convair 240 plane short of fuel crashed into a swamp in Gillsburg, MS).   Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Billy Powell and Leon Wilkenson were all seriously injured but eventually recovered. That same month, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s new album STREET SURVIVORS was withdrawn as the sleeve featured a macabre design of the band surrounded by flames. To read more link to: Lynyrd Skynyrd: An Oral History