Zac Brown Band bassist and vocalist John Driskell Hopkins reveals ALS diagnosis
Zac Brown Band founding member John Driskell Hopkins has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurological disease commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.
The 51-year-old songwriter, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist for the Grammy-winning country band shared the "tough" news with fans in a YouTube video ahead of the weekend.
"Over the past several years, I've noticed some balance issues and some stiffness in my hands," Hopkins said. "After careful analysis by some of the country's top neurologists, I have been diagnosed with ALS."
Because his symptoms have been slow progressing from the start, Hopkins said, "We believe they will continue to be slow progressing going forward."
The musician added that he has no plans for slowing down: "God willing, I plan to be rocking with these amazing people for many years to come," he said alongside his bandmates.
There is currently no cure for ALS, which affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, but medication and therapy can slow it down and reduce discomfort.
"The technology and research surrounding ALS research has been advancing, but we still don't have a cure," bandmate Zac Brown added in the video. "Thanks so much for your prayers and support in helping us cure ALS."
In the video, Hopkins and Co. also announced the launch of Hop on a Cure, his foundation dedicated to funding and supporting research to prevent, reverse, and cure ALS while raising awareness, building a "compassionate community," and "unleashing the healing power of hope." It ends with a call to text "HOP" to 345-345 to make a donation.
The band (also comprised of Jimmy De Martini, Coy Bowles, Chris Fryar, Clay Cook, Matt Mangano, and Daniel de los Reyes) is currently in the middle of their U.S. "Out in the Middle Tour," which concludes in November in Arizona. The tour comes after the group returned to Billboard's Country Airplay chart earlier this year with "Same Boat" from their 2021 album The Comeback, marking the band's 14th No. 1 song.