Robert Burns Jr. Dead in Car Crash as Lynyrd Skynrd's Original Lineup Remains Jinxed
The original drummer for rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, Robert Burns. Jr., has died in a car accident, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Georgia State Patrol said that the musician's vehicle left the road and struck a mailbox and tree. It's believed he was killed instantly, although the event remains under investigation. He was 64.
Burns was one of the founding members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, although his name has often gotten lost in the wash—considering the band's normal seven-man lineup and its frequent shifts in roster over the years. Although Artimus Pyle has spent more time behind the drum kit for Skynyrd, Burns was present for the band's first two, and best, albums—Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd and Second Helping. He would leave the group during 1974 after becoming overwhelmed with the touring lifestyle, although he would stop in for guest stints from time to time over the next 40 years.
His death continues the eerie trend of deaths at a relatively young age for members of the band. Of the seven members listed on Skin-nerd, five have passed away, and many in less than natural causes. Vocalist Ronnie Van Zant was famously killed in a plane crash in 1977, guitarist Allen Collins died following complications of a car accident, and bassist Leon Wilkeson also died before reaching 50—although his death was ruled as stemming from natural causes.
Guitarist Gary Rossington is the only remaining member of the original lineup left with the group.