Zac Brown Band founding member John Driskell Hopkins reveals ALS diagnosis

Musician John Driskell Hopkins, founding member and bass player for the Zac Brown Band, confirmed Friday that he has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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The multitalented Hopkins – who plays guitar, banjo and ukulele, while also providing backup vocals for the Zac Brown Band in addition to his own solo efforts – announced his diagnosis in a video message with his bandmates by his side, the “Today” show reported.

“Over the past several years, I’ve noticed some balance issues and some stiffness in my hands,” Hopkins, 51, said in the video.

“After careful analysis by some of the country’s top neurologists, I’ve been diagnosed with ALS. Because my symptoms have been slow-progressing from the start, we believe they will continue to be slow-progressing going forward. God willing, I plan to be rocking with these amazing people for many years to come,” he added.

The Zac Brown Band is currently on the road for the Out in the Middle Tour, whose namesake track, “Out in the Middle,” currently sits at No. 35 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, Billboard reported.

“The technology and research around ALS treatments has been advancing, but we still don’t have a cure,” ZBB lead singer Zac Brown stated in the emotional video.

According to the Mayo Clinic, ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease with no known cause that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control.

According to als.org, nearly 5,000 people are diagnosed with ALS per year, with an average life expectancy of between two and five years, Billboard reported.

Hopkins also used his video address to launch the Hop on a Cure foundation, encouraging viewers to seize on his nickname and text “Hop” to 345-345 to make a donation toward ALS research.

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