Bob Burns, a founding member of rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died in a car crash at the age of 64.
The drummer, who played on the band’s first two albums, was killed when his car left the road on Friday, striking a mailbox and a tree.
Georgia State Patrol spokeswoman Tracey Watson said Burns, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was killed in the wreck.
He was alone in the car, and no other cars were involved. Police are trying to establish if weather was a factor.
Burns performed alongside singer Ronnie Van Zant, bassist Larry Junstrom and guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins in Lynyrd Skynyd from 1966 to 1974.
During that time the rock band, who were named after their childhood PE teacher, Leonard Skinner, recorded such songs as Sweet Home Alabama, Simple Man and Free Bird.
Burns left the band after becoming exhausted by touring. Artimus Pyle subsequently replaced him as drummer for 1975’s Nuthin’ Fancy album.
He was not aboard the plane that crashed in 1977, killing three of the band’s members, including Van Zant.
The group disbanded after the tragedy – but reformed in 1987 with Van Zant’s younger brother, Johnny, on lead vocals.
They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, at which point Burns rejoined the group for a one-off performance.
Lynyrd Skynyrd still tour with Rossington, the only original member still in the band.
“Well, today I’m at a loss for words, but I just remember Bob being a funny guy,” Rossington said in a message posted on the Lynyrd Skynyrd Facebook page. “He used to do skits for us and make us laugh all the time, he was hilarious!”
“Ironically, since we played Jacksonville yesterday, Dale, my daughter and I, went by the cemetery to see some of the guys in the band and my parents’ grave sites.
“On the way back, we went by Bob Burns’ old house. It was there in the carport where we used to first start to practice with Skynyrd.
“My heart goes out to his family and God bless him and them in this sad time. He was a great, great drummer.”