Billy Powell passes away

One of the key members of Lynard Skynard has died, with keyboard player BIlly Powell dying at the age of 56.

The musician was found dead in his Orange County home on Wednesday (January 28th) of an apparent heart attack. Powell had been undergoing treatment for a heart condition, and the keyboard player was able to make a 911 call where he complained of chest pains.

Powell is survived by his wife and children.

Originally joining Lynyad Skynard as a roadie, Billy Powell was overheard fooling around on the piano before a show one night and was hired on the spot by singer Ronnie Van Zant. A key component of classic rock hits such as 'Freebird' and 'Sweet Home Alabama', Powell was well-respected for his bluesy stylings.

However, tragedy struck the group in 1977 when Lynard Skynard were involved in a fatal plane crash. Killing several members of the group, it left Powell with severe facial injuries - although he later made a full recovery. Powell was the only member of the group well enough to attend the funerals of the other band members.

Powell rejoined the group in 1987 for a tribute tour, and has played with the band ever since.

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