Zac Brown Band’s John Driskell Hopkins Has Been Preparing Messages for His Daughters Throughout ALS Battle

by Blake Ells
(Photo via Getty Images / David Becker / Stringer)

John Driskell Hopkins has been battling ALS for a year now. He began experiencing symptoms during the pandemic, and he revealed his diagnosis in May. The disease deteriorates muscle function, and the Zac Brown Band guitarist knows that he may not be able to play guitar much longer. His priority through it all remains his family. He’s preparing for the days that may lie ahead when the condition worsens.

“I, as a father, don’t know what they need yet,” John Driskell Hopkins tells CBS News of his three daughters. “And I want to be there. I want to impart some wisdom that I think they could probably use later.”

So he’s been recording a voice bank of common words and phrases that he thinks he’ll be able to use later if he loses the ability to speak. He’s also writing songs that he plans to leave his family.

“I’ve got three that I’m working on that are all in different ways directly related to what I’m going through,” John Driskell Hopkins says. “I was writing a song that’s simply titled ‘I Love You Forever.’ I haven’t finished it. I can’t finish it.”

John Driskell Hopkins Worries About His Wife

Beyond his three daughters, John Driskell Hopkins is worried about his wife, Jennifer.

“I worry about what it means to her because I don’t want to ruin her adult life,” he says. “This is the most beautiful woman in the world. She could find anyone tomorrow. But I don’t want to burden this one.”

Jennifer joined John Driskell Hopkins for the interview.

“And he’s my life – him and my girls,” Jennifer said. “And he’s got so much to give. Truly the stars aligned for us to be together and we’re meant to go through this together and whatever that brings, whatever that means. This is our story.”

He created a charity to raise funds for ALS research. The Hop on a Cure Foundation is so named for his nickname, “Hop.”

“I’m not a scientist,” John Driskell Hopkins said. “I’m not going to be the one with the test tubes and the research; I’m someone that has a platform that can explain, ‘I can’t play guitar like I used to. I might not be able to sing one day.’ And if I have an opportunity to spread the word that way, then that’s my responsibility.”

Zac Brown Band stopped by Ryman Auditorium in Nashville for a fundraiser for Hop on a Cure Foundation in September. His band mates are committed to helping him through his journey and supporting his cause. The band remains on the road, with several dates in California throughout November. Check out their schedule and get ticket information for each stop at their website.