Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame & MuseumCountry Music Hall of Famer Jeff Cook will come off the road with Alabama at the end of the month, after revealing that he’s been battling Parkinson’s disease for the past four years.
“This disease robs you of your coordination, your balance, and causes tremors,” the original member of the legendary band told USA Today. “For me, it has made it extremely frustrating to try and play guitar, fiddle or sing… 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.”
Cook first noticed a problem when he had trouble accurately casting his fishing line, and then his struggle progressed to playing the guitar. Even though Jeff will be coming off the road, he’s insisted that his cousins continue.
“He wants us to go on,” lead singer Randy Owen says. “We want the music to go on. I’m going to be very honest. I don’t know if I have the fire. The only way I do, is knowing that Jeff is totally, ‘Go get it.’”
Cook will play a fan event, as well as a May 27 show in Orange Beach, Alabama. Beyond that, he plans to drop in on the band’s shows as he’s able. Both Owen and Teddy Gentry hold out hope he’ll someday be able to return to regular performances with Alabama.
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