Music

Zac Brown Band’s John Driskell Hopkins diagnosed with ALS

"God willing, I plan to be rocking with these amazing people for many years to come."

Zac Brown Band at Fenway Park
Zac Brown Band performs at Fenway Park September 1, 2019. Ben Stas for The Boston Globe

Zac Brown Band founding member and bassist John Driskell Hopkins announced Friday that he has Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS.

Joined by his bandmates and siblings for an emotional video posted to the country music group’s YouTube page, Hopkins said he had some “tough news to share.”

“Over the past several years, I’ve noticed some balance issues and some stiffness in my hands,” the musician said. “After careful analysis by some of the country’s top neurologists, I have been diagnosed with ALS.”

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells that control muscle function throughout the body, according to the ALS Association. A cure has not yet been found.

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Despite the diagnosis, which he received in December 2021, Hopkins plans to continue touring with the band for as long as he can. Zac Brown Band, which has sold out Fenway Park a record 11 times, will be back to play yet another sold-out show at the ballpark on Friday, July 15.

Battling ALS:

“Because my symptoms have been slow progressing from the start, we believe they will continue to be slow progressing going forward,” Hopkins said. “God willing, I plan to be rocking with these amazing people for many years to come.”

Supporting his bandmate, lead singer Zac Brown added, “The technology and research surrounding ALS treatments has been advancing, but we still don’t have a cure. Thanks so much for your prayers and support in helping us cure ALS.”

Hopkins also revealed that he created Hop on a Cure, a foundation aimed at supporting ALS research in pursuit of a cure.

The band encouraged fans to text “Hop” to 345-345, or visit hoponacure.org to donate or to learn more about research to prevent, reverse, and cure the disease.

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