Zac Brown Band founding member John Driskell Hopkins has revealed he was diagnosed with ALS while standing alongside his country music band mates in a short video shared to the YouTube account of the group.
The 51-year-old musician, who has been a multi-instrumentalist with an emphasis on bass guitar, as well as a powerful vocalist and lyricist since the band’s inception in 2002, admitted he had some tough news for the huge the band’s fan base.
“I have some tough news to share, and my siblings have come together to support me,” he said in the one-minute clip, which was also posted to the group. Twitter account.
“Over the past few years, I’ve noticed balance issues and some stiffness in my hands. After careful analysis by some of the best neurologists in the country, I was diagnosed with ALS.
“Because my symptoms have been slowly progressing since the beginning, we believe they will continue to progress slowly in the future. God willing, I plan to rock with these amazing people for many years to come.
Lead singer Zac Brown added, “Technology and research around treatments for ALS have advanced, but we still don’t have a cure. Thank you so much for your prayers and for helping us to cure ALS.
The video ended with the group promoting the #HopOnACure program, a non-profit organization founded by Hopkins to benefit not only from finding a cure, but also from providing treatment plans and recovery efforts for survivors.
A soundtrack to “Good Morning, Believers!” by Hopkins, featuring Emily Saliers from the album ‘Lonesome High’, played in the background.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is named after the former New York Yankee great who was forced to retire in 1939 due to debilitating illness and after playing for the team 17 seasons.
Gehrig retired at the age of 36 and died two years later.
ALS targets the nervous system, weakening muscles and limiting physical function.
The Mayo Clinic describes ALS as a “progressive disease of the nervous system that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in loss of muscle control.”
The cause is unknown and symptoms may vary, but muscle weakness that gets worse over time is common in many cases. There is no cure for the disease.
The award-winning group has released seven studio albums, two live albums and one greatest hits album to huge commercial success thanks to their hit song “Chicken Fried”. Their debut album, “The Foundation”, is certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and its subsequent catalogs – “You Get What You Give” and “Uncaged” – both went platinum.