Lynyrd Skynyrd and longtime bassist Larry Junstrom has died at the age of 70.

“The Big Man on the Big Bass has left us,” the tribute message began. “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.

Junstrom began his musical career in the mid-’60s playing in early versions of Lynyrd Skynyrd — alternately known as My Backyard, the Noble Five and the One Percent — alongside Ronnie Van Zant, Garry Rossington, Bob Burns and Allen Collins.

In 1977, Donnie Van Zandt — younger brother of Lynyrd Skynyrd lead singer, Ronnie — invited Junstrom to join his band, .38 Special, to replace bassist Ken Lyons. He held the gig for nearly four decades, playing on hits including “Hold on Loosely,” “Caught Up in You,” and “Rockin’ into the Night.”

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