Billy Powell, the keyboardist for Lynyrd Skynyrd, died on Wednesday at his home in Florida at age 56. The cause of death is assumed to be a heart attack. The Associated Press reports that Powell called 911 earlier in the day to report that he was having trouble breathing; about an hour later, rescue personnel failed to revive him with CPR. A police spokesman says that there’s no foul play suspected and an autopsy won’t be performed.
Powell was one of the two remaining members of the Southern rock band who survived the 1977 plane crash that claimed the lives of Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, and others. According to legend, he was a roadie who joined the band after impressing Van Zant with his keyboard version of “Free Bird” in 1972.
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