Jeff Cook, a co-founding member of the popular country music band Alabama, died at 73.
A spokesperson for the band told The Tennessean that the guitarist died at his home in Destin, Florida.
Cook has had Parkinson’s disease for the past ten years, a nervous system disorder that primarily affects movement. He told the outlet about his medical condition more than five years ago.
As a vocalist, guitarist, and fiddle player, the band member filled multiple roles in the group. Teddy Gentry and Randy Owen, his cousins, are among his bandmates.
Throughout their career, they released hit country songs like “My Home’s in Alabama,” “Mountain Music,” “I’m In A Hurry,” “Song of the South,” “Cheap Seats,” “Song of the South,” and many others.
According to the source, Jeff Cook grew up in Fort Payne, Alabama. His younger self clearly loved music, so he pursued a career as a disc jockey at a radio station in his hometown.
He and his bandmates formed Young Country first, later changing their name to Wildcountry the following decade while performing in venues throughout their states, such as South Carolina, Myrtle Beach, and others.
Cook, Owen, and Gentry finally changed their name to Alabama in 1977. Two years later, they rose to prominence after being invited to the “New Faces” showcase at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, Tennessee.
They had no idea that attending the event would propel them to national prominence.
It didn’t take long for them to sign with RCA, launching their successful career. Alabama later dominated radio charts, with eight number-one songs between 1980 and 1982.
The band’s massive success continued as they won Entertainer of the Year at the Country Music Awards for three years. From 1981 to 1985, they also won the same award at the Academy Of Country Music.
Cook previously stated in an interview about his health that he decided to stop touring with his bandmates because the disease was affecting his body.
He told the outlet:
“This disease robs you of your coordination, your balance, and causes tremors.”
Trying to play his instruments and sing was also frustrating for him.