DESTIN, Fla. — Country musician and co-founding member of the band Alabama Jeff Cook died Monday at the age of 73, following a 10-year struggle with Parkinson’s disease.
The band’s publicity firm confirmed to WHNT-TV that Cook died “with his family and close friends by his side” at his beach home in Destin, Florida.
As per The Tennessean: “As a guitarist, fiddle player and vocalist in Alabama, Cook — alongside cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry — helped sketch a blueprint for what a hitmaking band can achieve in country music. He and the band filled in that sketch with a slew of hits now considered by many to be essential country music listening: ‘Song of the South,’ ‘Mountain Music,’ ‘I’m In A Hurry,’ ‘Cheap Seats,’ and ‘My Home’s In Alabama,’ among many others.”
According to WHNT, the band charted more than 40 No. 1 hits and sold more than 80 million albums during Cook’s more than 50-year tenure with Alabama.
Cook publicly disclosed his Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2017, five years after receiving it, telling WHNT: “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. I do believe in prayer, and I appreciate all the continued prayers throughout this difficult time.”
Parkinson’s is a degenerative nervous system disorder that affects movement. The disease is caused when nerve cells that control movement in the brain that either become impaired or die. The neurons create less dopamine that causes movement issues in Parkinson’s patients. But doctors don’t know what causes the cells to either stop working or die, according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging.
A native of Fort Payne, Alabama, Cook began his musical career as a radio disc jockey, founding the band Young Country alongside cousins Owen and Gentry in 1969. By the mid-1970s, the band performed as Wildcountry before officially forming future Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Alabama in 1977, The Tennessean reported.
In addition to performing, Cook established Cook Sound Studios Inc. in Fort Payne and was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2019, WHNT reported. Alabama was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
He is survived by his wife, Lisa Cook.
In lieu of flowers, his family asks for donations to the Jeff and Lisa Cook Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness for Parkinson’s disease.
Tributes to Cook flooded social media:
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