Skynyrd Keyboard Player Billy Powell Dies

Billy Powell, keyboard player for the legendary Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, died at his home in Jacksonville, Fla., at age 56, Jan. 28.

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The cause of death has not been announced, although a heart attack is suspected. Reports indicate that Powell, who had a history of heart problems, made a call to 911 in the early morning of Jan. 28, saying that he was having trouble breathing. A message posted on the band's website simply reads: "A great loss --Beloved Pianist for the Lynyrd Skynyrd Band, Billy Powell, passed away last night. We will post more info shortly. The family and band request your respect and understanding during this difficult time. Thank you." Though Lynyrd Skynyrd found most of its popularity in the rock arena, the band is considered a huge influence on contemporary country stars like Travis Tritt, Montgomery Gentry and many others. Lynyrd Skynyrd appeared in an episode of the popular series CMT Crossroads with Montgomery Gentry. The band has canceled some upcoming shows due to Billy's passing but hopes to reschedule them in the near future.

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