Billy Powell 1952-2009
Inducted Into Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame March 13, 2006
On January 28, 2009 Billy Powell, 56, died at his condo in Orange Park, Florida. Orange Park Police Lt. Mark Cornett said that Powell called 911 just before 1 a.m. complaining of difficulty breathing. Paramedics found him unresponsive in his bedroom still holding the phone. They performed CPR but he was pronounced dead at 1:52 a.m.
Powell reportedly missed a Tuesday appointment with his doctor for a cardiac evaluation. A heart attack is suspected. An autopsy will not be performed, according to Cornett.
The Lynyrd Skynyrd website published the following statement: “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.”
Powell joined Skynyrd in 1973 and survived the 1977 plane crash that took the lives of band members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines and several crew members. He left the group that same year and hooked up with the Christian rock band Vision. He rejoined Skynyrd in 1989 and remained a member until his death. Kid Rock inducted the band into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in March 13, 2006.
His son, Brandon Powell is a guitarist in the Jacksonville based rock band Syntenic.
Check out our photo gallery below, including the Lynyrd Skynrd video performance of Free Bird followed by another video performance of Sweet Home Alabama.