Lynyrd Skynyrd bassist Ean Evans passed away this week after losing "a valiant battle with an aggressive form of cancer," according to a statement issued Wednesday by the band. A southern rocker by birthright (raised in Georgia before moving to Mississippi), Evans joined Skynyrd in 2001, following the death of original bassist Leon Wilkeson.

Evans was a member of the Outlaws before being called up to Skynyrd as the replacement for one of his heroes and greatest influences. In addition to his full-time status in Skynyrd, he had also more recently formed a side-project with Bobby Capps of .38 Special called EVANSCAPPS.

Lynyrd Skynyrd are survivors, having remained a band following a 1977 plane crash that killed three members, with additional deaths in the years that followed. In January, keyboardist Billy Powell passed away. At the time, the band continued to soldier onward as they've always done following the death of a band member; Lynyrd Skynyrd is currently scheduled to tour with Kid Rock throughout the summer, and the band has European dates beginning May 20 in Finland.

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