CBS News August 23, 2018, 2:38 PM Ed King, former guitarist for Lynyrd Skynyrd, is dead at 68

Derek St.Holmes and Ed King (R.) attend 2017 Amigo Nashville Guitar Show at Liberty Hall in The Factory on March 18, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ed King, a former guitarist for Lynyrd Skynyrd who helped write several of their hits including "Sweet Home Alabama," has died in Nashville, Tennessee, a family friend confirmed to the Associated Press. The rocker was 68.

Scott Coopwood said in a statement that King died on Wednesday due to cancer. Gary Rossington, a founder of the band, tweeted that he was "shocked and saddened" by King's death.

I’ve just found out about Ed’s passing and I’m shocked and saddened. Ed was our brother, and a great Songwriter and Guitar player. I know he will be reunited with the rest of the boys in Rock & Roll Heaven. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sharon and his family. -Gary Rossington

— Lynyrd Skynyrd (@Skynyrd) August 23, 2018

King joined the band in 1972 and was part of their first three albums with their distinct three-guitar sound. He left the band two years before a plane crash killed singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines in 1977. He rejoined the group 10 years later and played with them until he retired in 1996 due to heart problems. He joined the band to perform at their 2006 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction.

King was also an original member of the California psychedelic group Strawberry Alarm Clock, which had a hit with "Incense and Peppermints" in 1967.

On King's Facebook page, a statement said, "It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Ed King who died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee on August 22nd, 2018. We thank his many friends and fans for their love and support of Ed during his life and career."