Leonard Skinner, namesake of rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, dies at age 77

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Lynyrd Skynyrd performing in concert in 2008

Leonard Skinner, the namesake of rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died at the age of 77. Skinner was a gym teacher and basketball coach and taught members of the group. His death was announced by his son, also named Leonard Skinner, who also said that he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Skinner died at the St. Catherine Laboure Manor nursing home in Riverside at 02.30 a.m. His son said that he had a bowl of ice cream shortly after midnight. He had been at the home for about a year.

The coach taught the members of the group in the 1960s and was reportedly hard on the students. He later said in a 2009 interview that "he was just following the rules". He disputed the rumours that he was extra tough on them or that he kicked them out of school.

In later years he opened up his own bar and became friends with some members of the group and even introduced them at one of their concerts in Jacksonville.

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