No matter where life takes him, country legend Alan Jackson knows exactly the kind of legacy he wants to leave behind.
Jackson opened up to TODAY show host Jenna Bush Hager about a degenerative disorder that’s taken its toll on him recently. For 10 years, the country singer’s been living with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, a degenerative nerve condition. In recent performances, the disease has affected Jackson’s ability to walk and maintain his balance.
Despite these struggles, Alan Jackson only wants to be remembered for the incredible music he made.
“I’ve always believed that the music is the most important thing. The songs. And I guess that’s what I’d like to (leave) if I had a legacy,” Jackson told the TODAY show host.
For more than 30 years, Alan Jackson’s made a name for himself in the country music industry. He’s been a champion for traditional style country music, and he became one of the biggest country artists of the 1990s and early 2000s.
Jackson’s wife of 41 years, Denise, will continue to support him through CMT treatments as well as throughout the rest of his country career.
“He’ll have so many songs for our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren to hear and know who he was,” Denise said. “To know what was important to him. To get a little touch of our lives together through his music.”
At this point in time, Alan Jackson doesn’t have any grandchildren. His oldest daughter, Mattie Jackson Selecman, tragically lost her husband less than a year into their marriage in 2018. His middle daughter, Ali Jackson Bradshaw, just got married in July 2020. And Jackson’s youngest daughter, Dani, doesn’t seem to be attached to anyone right now.
Alan Jackson Opens Up About Degenerative Disorder
According to Alan Jackson, CMT is not a deadly disease. But he admitted it is “related to muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease.” And though he’s had it for 10 years, Jackson’s started noticing more apparent effects of the disease.
“I have this neuropathy and neurological disease,” Jackson said. “It’s genetic that I inherited from my daddy … There’s no cure for it, but it’s been affecting me for years. And it’s getting more and more obvious. I know I’m stumbling around on stage. And now I’m having a little trouble balancing, even in front of the microphone, and so I just feel very uncomfortable.”
Jackson told the TODAY show that he doesn’t have plans for a “big retirement tour” anytime soon. But he does want to continue touring as long as he can. Mostly, he’s glad to have the ability to make whatever kind of music he wants.
“I feel a little more freedom now because I’m not trying to worry about getting on the radio and fitting into their limitations,” Jackson explained.