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Zac Brown Band's John Driskell Hopkins reveals ALS diagnosis

TODAY logo TODAY 5/22/2022 Ronnie Koenig

John Driskell Hopkins, founding member and bass player for the Zac Brown Band, announced Friday that he has been diagnosed with ALS.

The musician, 51, made the announcement in an emotional video alongside his band members and siblings.

"I have tough news to share and my brothers and sister have gathered to support me," said Hopkins, who is also known as "Hop."

"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 have been diagnosed with ALS."

According to the Mayo Clinic, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the baseball player who was diagnosed with it. There is no cure for ALS, and doctors are unsure what causes it, though it may be inherited.

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Hopkins went on to say that he is hopeful that his disease will continue to progress at a slow rate.

"Because my symptoms have been slow-progressing from the start we believe they will continue to be slow-progressing going forward," the musician said.

He ended his video message with a prayer to continue making music with Zac Brown Band.

Georgia On My Mind Featuring Amy Grant, Butch Walker, Katie Pruitt, The Lone Bellow - Nashville, TN (Danielle Del Valle / Getty Images) © Danielle Del Valle Georgia On My Mind Featuring Amy Grant, Butch Walker, Katie Pruitt, The Lone Bellow - Nashville, TN (Danielle Del Valle / Getty Images)

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

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

Hopkins is a multi-talented musician, playing guitar, banjo, ukulele and singing back-up vocals with his band known for tunes including "Chicken Fried" and "Toes." In 2021, he released a solo album, "Lonesome High."

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