By Abby Hassler
Jeff Cook, the fiddler and guitar player for the Country Music Hall of Fame group Alabama, announced he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease around four years ago.
While band members Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry have known for years, Cook revealed his decision to step back from touring with the group April 29 in a prepared statement to The Tennessean.
“This disease robs you of your coordination, your balance, and causes tremors,” Cook wrote. “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.”
Cook will still play the band’s May 27 concert in Orange, Alabama, along with another event in June. The guitarist also intends to drop in and sing in shows whenever he is able. Both Gentry and Owen emphasized Cook’s microphone will always be on stage.