Country Music Star And Founding Member of Alabama Jeff Cook Dead At 73

Alabama's Randy Owen, Jeff Cook and Teddy Gentry backstage during The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Presents an Interview with Alabama at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in The CMA Theater on November 5, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

Country music star and founding member of the hit band Alabama, Jeff Cook, died at his home in Destin, Florida, at the age of 73.

Cook, a co-founder of the successful country music group, and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, died after being diagnosed in 2017 with Parkinson’s disease, Don Murry Grubbs, a representative for the band told the Associated Press in a piece published Tuesday.

The late star was one of members of the powerful trio alongside cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry, Variety noted. His work as a guitarist, fiddle player and vocalist, helped the band soar to the top of the country music charts in the early 80s with songs like “Love In The First Degree” and “Feels So Right,” as well as “Mountain Music.”

Shortly after news broke of the singer’s death, tributes from country superstars like Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean poured in on social media and more.

“Jeff Cook, and all of the guys in Alabama, were so generous with wisdom and fun when I got to tour with them as a young artist,” Chesney shared in a statement. “But maybe even more, they showed a kid in a T-shirt that country music could be rock, could be real, could be someone who looked like me. Growing up in East Tennessee, that gave me the heart to chase this dream.”

“So sad to hear of the passing of Jeff Cook,” Aldean tweeted. “I spent a lot of my life listening to him play guitar, what an iconic sound he had. I got a chance to perform with him multiple times over the years and I will never forget it.”

“Jeff Cook spent a lifetime in music, earning a license as a broadcast engineer before he was old enough to drive a car and working as an on-air radio personality while still in high school,” Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum shared. “Everything he did was rooted in his deep love of music, a love he shared with millions.”

The power trio dominated the CMA Entertainer of the Year category for three years, from 1982-1985. The band also earned several ACM Award Entertainer of the Year trophies from 1981-1985, the outlet noted. In 2018, Cook stopped touring with the group and in 2005 Alabama was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife Lisa, who he married in 1995. Memorial plans are to be released at a later time.

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