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 / Updated  / Source: NBC News

Bob Burns, a founding member and one-time drummer of the iconic Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, died in a car crash Friday night in Georgia, according to authorities and the band. He was 64.

Burns' car slipped off the road just before midnight and into a tree after making a tight turn in Bartow County, about 50 miles north of Atlanta, said Tracey Watson, a spokeswoman for the Georgia State Patrol. Burns was not wearing a seat belt and died on the scene, Watson said.

Burns joined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1964 before the band shot to fame. The group recorded "Sweet Home Alabama," "I Need You" and "Free Bird" while Burns was the drummer. He left the band in 1974.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's guitarist Gary Rossington continues to tour under the band's name. Rossington wrote on the band's Facebook page Saturday that he coincidentally took a sentimental drive past Burns' old home while visiting Jacksonville, Florida, on Friday. "It was there in the carport where we used to first start to practice with Skynyrd," Rossington wrote.

"I'm at a loss for words, but I just remember Bob being a funny guy," Rossington said. "My heart goes out to his family and God bless him and them in this sad time. He was a great great drummer."

Billy Powell, Bob Burns and Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd react after the induction of the Band during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in New York, 13 March 2006.TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP/Getty Images



— Elisha Fieldstadt