Alan Jackson Reveals He Suffers from Neurological Disease CMT

It wasn’t such a big concern that it consumed all of our country music thoughts. But over the last few years, worries about if something was seriously wrong with Alan Jackson has been in the back of our minds for a host of reasons.

There were a few suddenly postponed shows in 2018, including one at the Wolf Trap in Virginia on August 16th after the band, crew, and everyone else had arrived at the venue. Jackson later cancelled the rest of his 2018 tour due to an undisclosed illness. There were the shows where he spent some, most, or all of his time on a stool, which seemed uncharacteristic for Alan Jackson, and a (now) 62-year-old performer, and was stumbling a bit around stage. And then there was the delay in the release on his new 2021 record Where Have You Gone.

But most certainly, Alan Jackson has earned the right to slow down, and not be second guessed over his now Hall of Fame career. Still, there was a lingering worry something wasn’t exactly right with him. On Tuesday morning (9-28), we learned what that something was.

In an interview with Jenna Bush Hager on the TODAY Show from the Country Music Hall of Fame, Alan Jackson revealed that he is suffering from a degenerative nerve condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, called (somewhat ironically) CMT. He was diagnosed with the condition ten years ago. It primarily affects the peripheral nervous system causing balance issues by compromising smaller muscles in the body’s extremities. The good news is that the disease is not life threatening, nor does it affect longevity.

“I have this neuropathy and neurological disease,” Jackson said in the interview. “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. And 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. It’s not going to kill me. It’s not deadly. But it’s related (to) muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease.”

Alan Jackson continues, “You get so self-conscious up there, stumbling around. I think it will be good for me now to get it out in the open, so if anybody’s curious of why I don’t walk right, that’s why.”

But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that Alan Jackson is retiring any time soon. He just felt the need to be honest about it with his fans so they don’t think he’s stumbling around the stage drunk, or have higher expectations than those he can deliver with the disease.

“I never wanted to do the big retirement tour, like people do, then take a year off and then come back,” Jackson said. “I think that’s kinda cheesy. And I’m not saying I won’t be able to tour. I’ll try to do as much as I can. I feel a little more freedom now, because I’m not trying to worry about getting on the radio and fitting into their limitations. 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.”

Though it’s sad to hear of Alan’s condition, it’s assuring to know it’s not life-threatening, and that the rumors of him either not handling his drinking, or something worse going on were just that—rumors. Hopefully he has many more years of entertaining from the stage left.

Along with releasing his latest album Where Have You Gone in May, Alan Jackson just released a video for the title track recorded at the Ryman Auditorium (see below).

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