The life expectancy of those affected with ALS is usually 3 to 5 years from when the symptoms first appear.
Zac Brown Band’s bassist, John Driskell Hopkins has revealed his diagnosis with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (or ALS), which causes a progressive degeneration of motor nerve cells in the brain.
He 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 have been diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
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.”
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ALS can gradually cause muscle weakness, loss of motor control and loss of speech and movement. Although it can strike at any age, symptoms most commonly develop between the ages of 55 and 75. For unknown reasons, men are more likely than women to develop ALS. The life expectancy of those affected is usually 3 to 5 years from when the symptoms first appear. However, about 10 percent of people with ALS survive for 10 or more years.
Hopkins and his bandmates have announced the launch of the Hop on a Cure Foundation to fund research towards a cure for the disease. According to the new foundation's website, Hopkins was first diagnosed with ALS in December 2021.
"The technology and research surrounding ALS treatments has been advancing, but we still don't have a cure," frontman Zac Brown said in the video message. "Thanks so much for your prayers and support in helping us cure ALS."
An important video announcement from our brother @johndhopkins. Let’s #HopOnACure for ALS, together. Text HOP to 345-345 or visit https://t.co/Tl4rk2lR9Y to make a donation and learn more. @hoponacure pic.twitter.com/XbCdLuLAYK— Zac Brown Band (@zacbrownband) May 20, 2022
Hopkins said he plans to keep performing with Zac Brown Band.
"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."
Throughout their career spanning over a decade, Zac Brown Band has had 6 consecutive albums reach the top 10 of the Billboard 200 and 5 consecutive albums debut at #1 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart. Since their debut, Zac Brown Band has developed a reputation with critics and fans alike as one of the most dynamic live / studio acts, marked by strong musicianship and a creative range that defies genre boundaries. To date, the band has won 3 Grammys, sold over 30 million singles, 9 million albums, amassed 9.3+ billion catalogue streams and achieved 15 #1 radio singles.
Their latest (and seventh) studio album, The Comeback was released in October 2021 and peaked at #42 on the Australian ARIA Albums Chart. It features their singles Same Boat (which reached #4 on the Countrytown Hot 50 Country Airplay Chart) and Out In The Middle.
The band (also comprised of Jimmy De Martini, Coy Bowles, Chris Fryar, Clay Cook, Matt Mangano, and Daniel de los Reyes) is currently in the middle of their U.S. "Out in the Middle Tour," which concludes in November.
Keep up to date with Zac Brown Band on their Facebook page here.