Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special bassist Larry Junstrom dead at 70

Larry Junstrom
Larry Junstrom (Image credit: Chris McKay/WireImage - Getty)

Lynyrd Skynyrd's original bassist and co-founding member Larry Junstrom has died at the age of 70.

The news was confirmed on the band’s Facebook page and on .38 Special’s social media channels – the band Junstrom spent most of his career with.

Lynyrd Skynyrd say: “Rest Easy, LJ, you will always be remembered as the big man, on the big bass with the even bigger heart! Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

A statement on .38 Special’s Facebook page says: “The Big Man on the Big Bass has left us. 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. There will never be another like him.

“We are sending our devoted love, strength and comfort to his wife Thania and Larry’s family. We will miss our friend and partner.”

Ronnie Van Zant, Bob Burns, Gary Rossington and Allen Collins recruited Junstrom in 1964 to form the band My Backyard, which later morphed into Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Junstrom left the band in 1971 to be replaced by Leon Wilkeson prior to the release of Skynyrd’s debut album Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd and went on to join Donnie Van Zant in .38 Special.

The bassist played on all 12 of .38 Special’s studio albums, retiring from the band in 2014 following the release of Drivetrain due to a hand injury.

No cause of death has been made public.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.