According to Patch, Burns was driving on Tower Ridge Road at 11:56PM last night (April 3) when he failed to negotiate a curve and crashed into a mailbox and a tree. A spokesperson for the Georgia State Patrol said that he was not wearing a seatbelt and was the only person in the car.
Born on Nov. 24, 1950, Burns helped form Lynyrd Skynyrd in Jacksonille, Fla., in the mid-’60s with Gary Rossington and Larry Junstrom. They added Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins and became the Noble Five. He temporarily left the band for nine months in 1969 when his parents moved to Orlando.
Burns rejoined in time for them to be discovered and signed by Al Kooper, who produced their first album, (Pronounced ‘Leh-’nerd ‘Skin-’nerd), which contained “Tuesday’s Gone,” “Gimme Three Steps” and “Free Bird.” Another song, “Mississippi Kid,” was co-written by Burns.
But, as he told the Examiner in 2011, his mental condition took a downturn during a European tour in 1974 in support of Second Helping. He left the band and was placed in a hospital in Jacksonville, where he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He was replaced by Artemis Pyle before the sessions for their third album, Nuthin’ Fancy. He rejoined the band for one night when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.