Lynyrd Skynyrd Pianist Billy Powell Dead at 56
Lynyrd Skynyrd pianist Billy Powell died in his home near Jacksonville, Florida last night. He was 56 years old. While an official press statement from the band states "We have no further details," this article from MTV.com suggests that Powell may have died from a heart attack.
A story on Powell's passing on Rolling Stone.com provides some solid back story on Powell's history with Lynyrd Skynyrd, but no further details about his death.
With Powell's passing, guitarist Gary Rossington is now the sole surviving original band member in the current Lynyrd Skynyrd lineup. Three members of the original band -- singer Ronnie Van Zandt, guitarist Steve Gaines, and backup singer Cassie Gaines -- were killed in a plan crash in October, 1977. Guitarist Allen Collins died from pneumonia in 1990. Bassist Leon Wilkeson died in 2001 from chronic liver and lung disease. The other members of the original band -- guitarist Ed King and drummer Artimus Pyle, have not toured with Lynyrd Skynyrd since 1987.
Lynyrd Skynyrd has canceled tour dates in the wake of Powell's death. More information is available at www.lynyrdskynyrd.com.