RIP Larry Junstrom of Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special

Larry Junstrom and Don Barnes of .38 Special perform at the Arena at Gwinnett Center on April 13, 2012 in Duluth, Georgia. (Photo by Chris McKay/WireImage)
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Larry Junstrom (L) and Don Barnes of 38 Special by Chris McKay/WireImage

"The Big Man on the Big Bass has left us." That's how the band 38 Special revealed that longtime bassist and founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Larry Junstrom, had passed away at the age of 70.

The southern rockers made the somber announcement on Facebook yesterday (Oct. 6) with a heartfelt remembrance of Junstrom:

"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."

Junstrom's rock and roll legacy is large. In 1964, he was an original member of southern rock pioneers Lynyrd Skynyrd, leaving the fold in 1971 before the band would record its debut album. When Donnie Van Zant (younger brother of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant in 1974, he would go on to tap Junstrom to join as bass player in 1977.

As 38 Special went on to reach its peak in the '80s with Wild Eyed Southern Boys (1981) and Special Forces (1982), the group would hit the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 twice: first with "Caught Up in You," which peaked at #10. They would climb all the way to #6 with "Second Chance," taken from the band's 1989 full-length, Rock & Roll Strategy.

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