Larry Junstrom, founding member and bass player for Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special has died. He was 70 years old.

"The Big Man on the Big Bass has left us," .38 Special confirmed Oct. 6 on Facebook. "He rocked arenas all over the world and succeeded in living his dream.
He was truly one of a kind, a congenial traveling companion and a great friend to all with a humorous slant on life that always kept our spirits high - a kind man with a big heart for everyone who crossed his path. There will never be another like him."

Junstrom joined Ronnie Van Zant, Bob Burns, Gary Rossington and Allen Collins in 1964 to form a band called My Backyard. After going through several name changes, they eventually settled on Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969, inspired by the name of a physical education teacher in their hometown of Jacksonville, Fla. Lynyrd Skynyrd became one of the defining groups of the southern rock sound for decades to come.

The bassist left the group in 1971 prior to any of their major releases, and went on to join Donnie Van Zant, the Skynyrd frontman's younger brother, in a band called .38 Special in 1977. They would record 12 studio albums over their career before Junstrom was forced to retire in 2014 due to a hand injury that needed to be operated on.

"We are sending our devoted love, strength and comfort to his wife Thania and Larry’s family. We will miss our friend and partner. Larry 'L.J.' Junstrom 1949 - 2019," .38 Special concluded in their statement.

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