Ed King, the Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist who joined the band in 1972 died in Nashville at 68.
A cause of death was not specified, though King had been battling lung cancer and had recently been hospitalized for the disease. King was a founding member of the psychedelic ’60s band Strawberry Alarm Clock, known for their hit “Incense and Peppermints.” King signed with Skynyrd in 1972 temporarily replacing bassist Leon Wilkeson and then becoming a full-fledged member as third guitarist. He most famously co-wrote “Second Helping”‘s “Sweet Home Alabama” and he was counting off “1, 2, 3” in the song’s intro which, along with “Free Bird,” has become synonymous with the group. He exited the band in 1975 after a dust-up with singer Ronnie Van Zant. He reunited with the band in 1987 and remained with them for nearly a decade until a diagnosis of congestive heart failure pulled him off the road in 1996.
The Lynyrd Skynyrd group
In 2006 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd. King had a heart reansplant in 2011. He presided over a community of more than 26,000 Facebook followers. At his death, now, historian Scott B. Bomar, author of "Southbound: An Illustrated History of Southern Rock said: "From his fantastic bass and guitar work to his songwriting contributions on classics like 'Poison Whiskey,' 'Workin' for MCA,' 'Saturday Night Special,' 'Whiskey Rock-a-Roller,' and others, it wouldn't have been the same band without him."