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Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (17)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 15 January 1948Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Date of Death 20 October 1977Gillsburg, Mississippi, USA  (plane crash)
Birth NameRonald Wayne Van Zant
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Ronnie Van Zant was born on January 15, 1948 in Jacksonville, Florida. He was the oldest son of six children (3 sisters and 2 brothers - musicians Donnie and Johnny). Ronnie attended Lee High School in Jacksonville with fellow band members Gary Rossington and Allen Collins. They soon formed what would become Lynyrd Skynyrd. At the height of their fame, on October 20, 1977, their chartered plane crashed. Ronnie was killed along with band members Steve Gaines and his sister Cassie. His signature songs are "Free Bird" and "Sweet Home Alabama".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: ronnie's biggest fan

Spouse (2)

Judy Van Zant Jenness (18 November 1972 - 20 October 1977) (his death) (1 child)
Nadine Incoe (2 January 1967 - 1969) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (3)

Soulful voice
Black cowboy hat
Long hair

Trivia (17)

Had 2 daughters: Tammy and Melody
His grand-daughter is named after him.
On June 29 2000, his grave was vandalized, this prompted his family to move his remains to an unknown location.
The song "Freebird" is now played as a musical tribute in Ronnie's memory.
2 brothers: Johnny Van Zant and Donnie Van Zant.
Was buried next to Steve and Cassie Gaines at Jacksonville Memorial Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida
Ronnie was buried with his fishing pole and his trademark black hat.
The song "I Take A lot Of Pride In What I Am" was played as Ronnie was laid to rest.
Had a closed casket funeral. Many thought this to be because he was horribly disfigured or even decapitated during the 1977 plane crash. That is not true. Ronnie had a bruise about the size of a quarter on his temple (which was the cause of death - blunt head trauma). His wife, Judy, remembered that Ronnie once said he did not wish to have people "gawking" at his body, so she made it a closed casket funeral.
One of his biggest sources of support was his father Lacy Van Zant. The elder Van Zant died on August 3, 2004 in Jacksonville, Florida of pulmonary problems. He was 89 years old.
His body has been moved to Riverside Memorial Park, however his original Memorial Mausoleum is still located at Jacksonville Memory Gardens.
The first pressing of Lynyrd Skynyrd's final album "Street Survivors" showed a photo of the band members engulfed in flames on the cover. It had been on the market for only 3 days at the time of the band's plane crash, so it was recalled and replaced with a photo that originally appeared on the back cover. In both of the photos, Van Zant is wearing a Neil Young "Tonight's the Night" t-shirt (an album which thematically explores premature rock star death). "Street Survivors" was released on Monday October 17 1977, Ronnie died on Thursday October 20 1977, about 18.52 Central Daylight Time, according to the N.T.S.B. crash report.
Brother Donnie was a founding member of rock band .38 Special. After Ronnie's death, his brother Johnny was hired to replace him in Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The song "Free Bird" was written as a simple love song, but later came to be dedicated in concert to guitarist Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band, who died in a motorcycle crash October 1971.
A character in the supernatural thriller called The Coffin (2010) was named after him, in his honor. One of the writers is a big Lynyrd Skynyrd fan.
Planned to produce the debut album for fellow southern rockers Molly Hatchet, but was tragically killed in the plane crash before he could do so.
Was the subject of the 2001 Southern Rock Opera album by The Drive-by Truckers.

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