What is ALS? Zac Brown Band’s John Driskell Hopkins reveals diagnosis

(Image via @johndriskellhopkins)
(Image via @johndriskellhopkins)

John Driskell Hopkins, the vocalist and multi-instrumentalist for Zac Brown Band, has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The singer-songwriter revealed his condition in a video, supported by his bandmates. He also noted that there is no cure for the disease yet.

Hopkins said in the video:

“Over the past several years, I’ve noticed some balance issues and some stiffness in my hands. After careful analysis by some of the country’s top neurologists, I’ve been diagnosed with ALS."

He further added:

"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.”

John Driskell Hopkins is a permanent member of the band. He is immensely talented, and plays the bass guitar, guitar, baritone guitar, banjo, ukulele, and upright bass.

What is ALS, the disease affecting the Zac Brown Band founder?

John Dreskill Hopkins is currently on tour with Zac Brown Band. (Image via Ethan Miller / Getty)
John Dreskill Hopkins is currently on tour with Zac Brown Band. (Image via Ethan Miller / Getty)

According to Mayo Clinic, ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control.

ALS.org explains the literal translation of the word 'amyotrophic' which had its roots in the Greek language. 'A' translates to 'no,' while 'Myo' refers to muscle and 'Trophic' means nourishment. Hence, the literal translation of 'amyotrophic' is 'no muscle nourishment.' In the absence of proper nourishment, muscles atrophy and waste away.

John Driskell Hopkins, the founding member of Zac Brown Band, mentioned in the video:

“The technology and research around ALS treatments has been advancing, but we still don’t have a cure. Thanks so much for your prayers and helping us cure ALS.”

Hopkins has launched the 'Hop on a Cure' foundation for those suffering from ALS. People can donate to the foundation by texting HOP to 345-345 and help fund ALS research.

ALS’s website notes that nearly 5,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year. People with ALS have an average life expectancy of two to five years.

Zac Brown Band Tour details

The country music band is currently on their 34-date tour titled Out in the Middle, scheduled to finish on November 19. Zac Brown Band is being supported by Caroline Jones and Robert Randolph Band who will open most of their shows. The Avett Brothers will accompany the band for a concert on August 14.

Tickets for the tour are available through Ticketmaster.

Quick Links

Edited by Mohini Banerjee