Alabama’s, guitarist and fiddle genius, Jeff Cook announced Tuesday, April 11th, that he has Parkinson’s Disease. Jeff was diagnosed about four years ago and chose to keep the diagnosis private where his career was concerned. He immediately shared the news with band mates Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry who agreed with Jeff to keep the diagnosis private although Teddy Gentry said it was difficult to keep silent when some people started assuming that perhaps Jeff had a substance abuse issue when he would make mistakes when performing.
Parkinson’s Disease is a debilitating illness that wreaks havoc not only with the person suffering with the illness but also with family members, friends and co-workers. I have personally seen and felt the effects of a loved one dealing with Parkinson’s. My father was diagnosed many years ago and thankfully the illness was well controlled with medication for several years. Unfortunately Parkinson’s will eventually win the battle. There are a lot of symptoms that go hand in hand with this disease that are unfamiliar to many. There’s the tremors that nearly everyone associates with Parkinson’s but not so familiar are; involuntary movements. sleep issues, nightmares, anxiety, a softer speaking voice, and stiff facial movements which result in many believing the person is angry or simply doesn’t care because facial expressions don’t change. One of the worst things for me with my dad was the Parkinson’s related dementia. My dad was a very intelligent man with an excellent memory and to watch him reach a point of not being able to recall the simplest things was heart-wrenching.
Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry have said there will always be a mic on stage for Jeff Cook whether he’s at the concert with them or not. Jeff says he will still be doing as much as he can with Alabama but after the end of this month he will not be touring with the band. He will be with the band in Orange Beach, Alabama May 27th and a fan event in June but unless his health improves those will be his last tour engagements. He is planning to continue to work in the studio with the band health permitting. Cook says he believes in prayer and appreciates all the prayers sent his way. Jeff you can add us to that group of people saying prayers for you, your family and friends. May God bless you. Thanks for the music. For more information on this visit this website.