Alabama Member Reveals He’s Been Diagnosed With Parkinson’s

With over 30 number one hits and 75 million records sold, Alabama isn’t just one of the best country bands of all time…they’re one of the greatest bands of any genre, period. The group is responsible for providing us with some of country music’s greatest songs, including “Angels Among Us,” “Love in the First Degree,” and “Mountain Music.”

In 2005, Alabama received one of the greatest honors in country music when they were officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Since then, the group has remained active both on the road and in the studio. Their most recent album, Southern Drawl, was released in 2015.

Today, the group consists of lead singer Randy Owen, bass player and background vocalist Teddy Gentry, and lead guitarist and fiddle player Jeff Cook. As it turns out, the three friends and bandmates have been keeping a big secret for the past four years, which they finally opened up about on Tuesday (April 11).

In an interview with The Tennessean, Cook revealed that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, Parkinson’s “is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement.

Cook first learned of his diagnosis four years ago, but he and his Alabama bandmates decided to keep the news private. He chose to reveal it now because the disease has progressed to the point that it is having a major impact on his body. As a result, Cook will no longer be touring with Alabama starting on April 29.

In a heartbreaking statement, Cook revealed why he is making the decision to take a step back for the time being:

This disease robs you of your coordination, your balance, and causes tremors. For me, this has made it extremely frustrating to try and play guitar, fiddle or sing. I’ve 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.

When Cook received his test results that confirmed his Parkinson’s diagnosis, he told Owen and Gentry right away. They considered no longer performing, but Cook encouraged them to continue.

He wants us to go on,” Owen said. “We want the music to go on.”

Whether Cook is able to perform or not, Owen and Gentry said they will always leave his microphone up on stage.

We could hire 10 people, but we can’t replace Jeff Cook in the group Alabama,” said Gentry.

Everyone remains hopeful that Cook may be able to regularly join them on tour again in the future. As of right now, he still intends to perform with the rest of the group at a May 27 concert in Orange Beach, Alabama and at a fan event in June.

If I’m healed overnight, I’ll be at the next show,” Cook said. “I do believe in prayer and I’m not giving up.

We’re so sad to hear this news. We’ll be keeping Cook, his family, and bandmates in our prayers during this tough time.