Country music fans got some bad news this week when one of the genre's biggest stars revealed they were suffering from a potentially fatal disease.
Jeff cook, the guitarist and fiddle player for the award-winning country band Alabama, announced that for 4 years he has been keeping his Parkinson's disease diagnosis a secret.
Parkinson's is a disease that effects the body's nervous system. It can be fatal and aggressive or very gradual. Other celebrities, like Michael J. Fox and Billy Graham, also have the disease.
Cook revealed his condition during an interview with The Tennessean, where he read a prepared statement to his fans.
“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," he said.
"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.”
Cook will be leaving the band at the end of the month to focus on his health, but will make special appearances at a Orange Beach tour date in May and another in June.
While other musicians will fill in for Cook, the band says they'll keep his microphone on stage while he's gone.
"We could hire 10 people, but we can’t replace Jeff Cook in the group Alabama,” said Teddy Gentry, the band's bass player.
Alabama has sold over 75 million records, recorded 43 number one hits and was inducted into the Country Hall of Fame.
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