Jeff Cook, founding member of country music supergroup Alabama, has died at age 73.
The group, which Cook founded alongside cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry, confirmed the sad news in a Facebook post on Tuesday, Nov. 8, revealing he’d passed away the previous day.
While Cook’s cause of death was not revealed, the band’s statement did note that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012.
A multi-instrumentalist, Cook contributed lead guitar and fiddle to Alabama, which charted an astounding 36 No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, including such hits as “Mountain Music”, “Jukebox in My Mind” and “I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)”.
Alabama said goodbye to fans in a farewell tour that began in 2003 and extended until 2004, but reunited in 2011 for a benefit concert after a tornado devastated their home state and band namesake.
That one-off show led the band to return to the road in 2013, accompanied by the release of Southern Drawl, their first album of new music since 2007.
In 2017, Cook went public about his battle with Parkinson’s, issuing a statement announcing he’d be limiting his performing due to his illness.
“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.”