One of the most star-crossed bands in rock history, [artist id="1285"]Lynyrd Skynyrd[/artist], suffered another tragedy this week. Bassist Donald “Ean” Evans died on Wednesday at his Columbus, Mississippi, home at the age of 48 after a battle with cancer, according to The Associated Press.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of longtime Lynyrd Skynyrd bassist Ean Evans,” the band announced on their Web site on Wednesday. “Ean put up a valiant battle with an aggressive form of cancer and he will be sorely missed by family, friends and fans.”
Evans joined the legendary Southern rock band in 2001, following the death of longtime bassist Leon Wilkeson, and Evans’ death was the second for the group this year, following the passing of keyboardist Billy Powell in January. In the 1980s, Evans played with another Southern rock powerhouse, the Outlaws, and later with that band’s original guitarist, the late Hughie Thomasson, who also had a stint in Skynyrd (1996-2005).
Up until his cancer diagnosis in 2008, Evans toured heavily with Skynyrd, who will be hitting the road again this summer with Kid Rock.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members, best known for such landmark tunes as “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama,” have had a history of tragic deaths. In 1977, the band’s chartered plane crashed in a swamp near McComb, Mississippi, killing six, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backing vocalist Cassie Gaines. One of the group’s founders, guitarist Allen Collins, was paralyzed in a 1986 DUI accident that killed his girlfriend. He died in 1990 from pneumonia.