Jeff Cook’s Death Sparks Tributes From Alabama Fans
Country music fans are in mourning Tuesday following the death of Jeff Cook, one-third of the band Alabama. Cook was a founding member of the band, alongside his cousins, Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry. Cook died on Monday at 73, following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
The guitarist lived with Parkinson’s disease for a decade. He went public with his diagnosis in an April 2017 interview with USA Today. He decided to step back from touring, but he did return for the band’s 50th-anniversary tour earlier this year. A representative for the band told The Tennesseean that Cook died at his home in Destin, Florida.
Alabama remains one of the best-selling bands in country music history. Their 1980 single “Tennessee River” started a streak of 21 number-one singles. The group’s smash hits include “Live in the First Degree,” “Dixieland Delight,” “Song of the South,” “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band),” and “Can’t Keep a Good Man Down.” Alabama’s last number-one single during Cook’s lifetime came in 2011 when they joined Brad Paisley on the song “Old Alabama.” They were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
Cook played guitar, fiddle, and keyboards with the band. He is survived by his wife, Lisa Cook. His family is asking fans to donate to the Jeff and Lisa Cook Foundation in his memory. They established the foundation to raise awareness for Parkinson’s disease.
Scroll on for a look at how fans and country music stars paid tribute to Cook.
‘Everything he did was rooted in his deep love of music’
“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, said in a statement. “He went on to fame, of course, with cousins Teddy Gentry and Randy Owen as a member of multi-platinum band Alabama, moving from barroom stages to sold-out arenas. Everything he did was rooted in his deep love of music, a love he shared with millions.”
‘He will be truly missed’
RIP Jeff Cook. You were one of the finest guitarists ever. Heaven just gained a great musician.
— Wistee (@WisteeBabe) November 8, 2022
“Sending out my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and bandmates of Jeff Cook from [Alabama],” Travis Tritt tweeted. “Such a great guy [and] one heckuva bass fisherman. He will be truly missed.”
‘Heaven gained another guitar/fiddle player today’
I’m sad to hear that Jeff Cook, a founding member of the group Alabama, passed away today. He was 73.
6 years ago, I got the chance to interview him at what ended up being the final “Jeff Cook Days” — a music festival in Guntersville, AL.
He was so kind and talented. pic.twitter.com/WdxaNqZFhy
— Chris Davis NC5 (@ChrisDavisMMJ) November 8, 2022
“Heaven gained another guitar/fiddle player today. Mom and I were saddened to hear about the passing of [Alabama]’s Jeff Cook after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease. Prayers for his family and many fans,” the family of the late Charlie Daniels tweeted.
‘Growing up with them was pretty awesome’
RIP Jeff Cook, legendary member of the country music group Alabama. Growing up with them was pretty awesome. June Jam was something I’ll never forget as a kid.
— Digital Champion (@DigitalChampYT) November 8, 2022
“Oh man, this sucks. [Jeff Cook], co-founder of one of the greatest country bands ever, ALABAMA, has died at 73 after a decade-long battle with Parkinson’s. RIP. And just remember, ‘If you’re gonna play in Texas, you’ve gotta have a fiddle in the band,'” one fan wrote.
So sad…Jeff Cook of County music group Alabama passed today surrounded by friends and family at his beach house in Destin, Florida. RIP and make your beautiful music with the angels Jeff 🙏💔😞 pic.twitter.com/SPGExvnMnE
— Debbie White🥋🐘 (@DebbieFromBama) November 8, 2022
“Heartbreaking news … friend and brother Jeff Cook of [Alabama] has passed … goodbye Jeff .. rest easy many … the battles have ended,” The Oak Ridge Boys wrote.
‘So thankful for the music’
I was raised on the music from the boys from Fort Payne. I got to see them in 2018, & it was amazing. I am so saddened to hear of Jeff Cook’s passing, but so thankful for the music he helped contribute to the soundtrack of my life. #myhomesinalabama #nomatterwhereilaymyhead pic.twitter.com/rsURaKeLWm
— Ginger Boyter (@GingerBoyter) November 8, 2022
“The Academy mourns the loss of Jeff Cook, a founding member of [Alabama]. Earning the ACM Artist of the Decade Award for the 1980s, Alabama is also the most awarded group in ACM Awards history. Join us in sending love to his fellow band members, friends, family & fans,” the Academy of Country Music said in a statement.