Lynyrd Skynyrd namesake Leonard Skinner dies

PE teacher who sent group to principal's office for having long hair inspired band's name

Leonard Skinner, the PE teacher who inspired the name of the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died in Florida. He was 77. Skinner, who had Alzheimer's disease, died in his sleep at the St Catherine Laboure Manor in Jacksonville, where he had been living for about a year, his daughter Susie Moore said.

He was working at Robert E Lee high school in Jacksonville in the 1960s when he sent a group of students to the principal's office because their hair was too long. They later formed a band, using a variation of Skinner's name.

The band, whose hits included Sweet Home Alabama, became popular in the mid-1970s. Three of the band members, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, were killed in a 1977 plane crash. The band regrouped and continues to perform today.

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