Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his bandmates in Zac Brown Band, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist John Driskell Hopkins revealed in a social media video that he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
According to the Mayo Clinic, ALS is a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control.
“I have tough news to share,” Hopkins said. “Over the past several years, I’ve noticed some balance issues and some stiffness in my hands. After careful analysis by some of the country’s top neurologists, I’ve been diagnosed with ALS. Because my symptoms have been slow progressing from the start, we believe they will continue to be slow progressing going forward. God willing, I plan to be rocking with these amazing people for many years to come.”
Zac Brown added: “The technology and research around ALS treatments has been advancing, but we still don’t have a cure. Thanks so much for your prayers and helping us cure ALS.”
Hopkins, who is an original member of the group, launched the Hop on a Cure foundation. Those who wish to donate can text “Hop” to 345-345 to help fund ALS research. According to als.org, nearly 5,000 people are diagnosed with ALS per year. The average life expectancy is two to five years, but some people with the disease live years longer.
Zac Brown Band is currently in the midst of its Out in the Middle Tour. It’s current single, also called “Out in the Middle,” is at No. 35 on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart. “Same Boat,” the band’s last single, went to No. 1.