April 12, 2017
Jeff Cook, of the country music supergroup Alabama, shared devastating news with fans this week. The 67-year-old founding band member is battling Parkinson's disease - and after decades performing he will step away from touring.
Cook and fellow members Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry made the announcement in an interview with the Nashville newspaper, The Tennessean. Cook, who wanted to personally explain to his fans, released the following letter.
Approximately four years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. This disease robs you of your coordination, your balance, and causes tremors. I also note that not every case is the same and affects people in different ways. For me, this has made it extremely frustrating to play guitar, fiddle, or sing.
I have tried not to burden anyone with the details of my condition because I do not want the music to stop or the party to end and that won't change, no matter what.
Let me say, I'm not calling it quits, but sometimes our bodies dictate what we have to do and mine is telling me it's time to take a break and heal. I do believe in prayer, and I appreciate all the continued prayers through this difficult time.
I love these guys (Randy and Teddy) and I love everyone involved with the group ALABAMA, and especially our fans. I want our fans and everyone involved to know that I do support all the decisions made by Randy and Teddy, as they continue to support mine.
I do plan to be at some of the shows and events when possible, and I hope to see you there.
Just remember, life is good and as long as you're breathing...there's 'No Bad Days.’
Cook served the group as a triple-threat, with his fiery fiddle playing, deft guitar skills and rich vocal harmonies. His contributions on songs like "Mountain Music," "Dixieland Delight" and "Tennessee River" helped secure Alabama's place in country music history and they were inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
Alabama's current tour resumes later this month. While Cook's presence will not be consistent, the band is planning to play together at the annual Fan Appreciation Weekend in Ft. Payne, Alabama (June 16-18).
Watch some of Alabama's biggest hits below.