The guitarist and fiddler from the classic band Alabama passed away on Monday, Nov. 7. He was 73 years old.
“So sad to hear of the passing of Jeff Cook,” Aldean wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Cook died at his home in Destin, Florida, according to a statement by his band. And he was surrounded by his loved ones. While the cause of death was not revealed, the musician had been battling Parkinson’s disease for over a decade. However, he didn’t publically reveal the illness until 2017.
Jeff Cook was a Pioneer in Country Music
Jeff Cook co-founded his band along with his cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry over 50 years ago. When they debuted, they went by the name Wild County. The group changed its name to Alabama in 1977.
The famed musician is considered a pioneer in the country industry. History credits him for bringing the electric double-neck guitar into the genre. And his mastery of not just the fiddle and guitar but also several other instruments, such as the bass guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano, and more earned his a reputation for being one of the most skilled entertainers of his generation.
Throughout his career, Cook became a member of the Musicians Hall of Fame, Fiddlers Hall of Fame, and Country Music Hall of Fame. He also helped Alabama earn multiple awards, including two Grammys and eight ACMs.
The band first formed in 1969 and retired two times during Cook’s life. It took a two-year hiatus in 2004 and then broke up once more from 2007 until 2010. While Alabama is still active today, Jeff Cook officially walked away in 2018 due to complications from Parkinson’s.
In his life, the musician also formed two special projects with his wife, Lisa. The first was the Jeff and Lisa Cook Children’s Home, which began in the Phillippines but now runs worldwide. The couple also created the Jeff and Lisa Cook Foundation in 2021 to help support others with Parkinson’s and also teach the public about the disease.
Along with his wife, Cook, is survived by his mother Betty Cook; brother David Cook; Crystal Cook; father-in-law Jerrial Williams; brother-in-law Randy Williams.