The musician was killed in a single-car wreck in Cartersville, Georgia

By Amanda Michelle Steiner
Updated April 04, 2015 03:50 PM
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Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Bob Burns, one of the founding members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, died this week following a single-car wreck in Cartersville, Georgia. He was 64.

The crash occurred Friday at around 11:56 p.m., reports the Cartersville Patch.

While approaching a right curve, Burns’s car “struck a mailbox and a tree with the front of the vehicle,” Georgia State Patrol spokesperson Tracey Watson told the Patch.

He was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, reports CNN.

Born Robert Lewis Burns Jr., the musician formed a band with his teenage friends in the 1960s in Jacksonville, Florida.

In its original incarnation, the band was named My Backyard, then The Noble Five and then One Percent before landing on the name Lynyrd Skynyrd in a mocking tribute to their P.E. teacher, Leonard Skinner, who refused to allow male students to wear long hair.

Burns would lend his talents to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first two albums and played on some of the band’s most iconic songs, including “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama.”

He left the band in 1974 after he found that life on the road wasn’t to his taste and was replaced by Artimus Pyle. For the induction of the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, Burns rejoined Lynyrd Skynyrd for a special performance.

“Fans we are absolutely devastated this morning after learning that our dear friend, band mate and original Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer, Bob Burns has passed away,” wrote Pyle, 66, on the Facebook page for the Artimus Pyle Band on Saturday. “Bob was one of the kindest, sweetest men you would ever want to know Prayers for his daughters Lou and Kristen. RIP old friend.”

Gary Rossington, a founding member alongside Burns, was similarly upset. “Well, today I’m at a loss for words, but I just remember Bob being a funny guy,” he wrote on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Facebook page.

“He was just so funny, he used to do skits for us and make us laugh all the time, he was hilarious! My heart goes out to his family and God bless him and them in this sad time. He was a great great drummer.”