Zac Brown Band’s John Driskell Hopkins revealed he has ALS in a message to fans on Friday (May 20).
The bassist and songwriter shared that for the past few years he was experiencing balance issues and stiffness in his hands. Following analysis from some of the country’s top neurologists, he was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
“Because my symptoms have been slow-progressing from the start, we believe they will continue to be slow progressing going forward,” Hopkins shared in a video message alongside his bandmembers. “God willing, I plan to be rocking with these amazing people for many years to come.”
In a separate video, he explained to fans, “ALS is a degenerative neuromuscular disease that has no cure. My symptoms have been present for some time now, meaning that the progression is slow, which is good news. Typically, research shows a 3-5 year lifespan after diagnosis, but the slow progression stands to reason that I will be around longer than that. My amazing family and I have a great support team, and we’re very grateful to you all for being part of it.”
“I welcome your messages of love but don’t be angry with me if I don’t engage to the extent one might expect as I focus on positivity and fundraising,” he explained. “In the meantime, I’m still on tour with Zac Brown Band, writing songs, and making a fourth Christmas album, and look forward to having you all as part of it.
Hopkins created a foundation called Hop on a Cure that supports research to prevent, reverse and cure ALS while raising awareness, building a compassionate community, and unleashing the healing power of hope. Visit http://HopOnACure.org to donate, and to grab a t-shirt to help spread awareness.
The Zac Brown Band is currently on the Out in the Middle Tour.