- Alan Jackson is one of the biggest country stars in the world and was the 2022 CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
- The country crooner announced his Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease diagnosis in 2021
- He has been dealing with the neurological disease for years, but only revealed the diagnosis because it is getting ‘more and more obvious’
With more than 20 albums and collections to his name, Alan Jackson is one of country music’s most influential artists. Not only is he the recipient of the 2022 Country Music Awards Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, but he is also a three-time CMA Entertainer of the Year Award recipient (1995, 2002, 2003) and a two-time Grammy winner. Unsurprisingly, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017. Aside from a three-decade-long career, his personal life has flourished, too. He is a proud husband to Denise Jackson, whom he married in 1979. The sweet couple share three kids: daughters Mattie, Alexandra, and Dani.
As Alan gets older, he is unfortunately grappling with the effects of Charcot-Marie-Tooth, a degenerative neurological disease. Despite his diagnosis, which he received years before he announced it in 2021, Alan continues to perform to the best of his ability. Read on to learn about Charcot-Marie-Tooth and how it’s affecting the country legend today.
Alan Jackson Diagnosed With Charcot-Marie-Tooth
Alan Jackson revealed he had been living with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease for “years” in a Sept. 2021 interview with TODAY‘s Jenna Bush Hager. “There’s no cure for it, but it’s been affecting me for years,” he noted. “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.” He also revealed the disease was passed on to him from his father.
And even though he was starting to really feel the effects of Charcot-Marie-Tooth, the “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” hitmaker said he had no plans to retire. “I never wanted to do the big retirement tour, like people do, then take a year off and then come back,” he explained. “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.”
What Is Charcot-Marie-Tooth?
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a degenerative neurological disease that affects the nerves stretching from the brain and spinal cord to all parts of the body, per the CMT Research Foundation. The disease causes the motor nerves and sensory nerves to have trouble sending signals to the brain, such as if something is too hot. The disease weakens and eventually deteriorated the nerves. Unfortunately, as of now, there is no cure for Charcot-Marie-Tooth. Luckily, it’s not deadly.
There are more than 100 known genetic mutations that cause the disease. Symptoms can be experienced from birth or as teens and young adults. Symptoms the latter group can experience include issues with gripping things and balance, numbness, tingling, or cold hands and feet, curled toes, and high feet arches. Symptoms for babies can include having trouble grasping things, holding their heads up, sitting, crawling, and walking.
How Long Has Alan Jackson Been Sick?
While Alan announced his diagnosis in 2021, he said he had been dealing with symptoms for “years”. It’s not clear exactly how long he’s had Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
How Is Alan Jackson Doing Today?
Alan Jackson does not speak much about his personal life and has not given an update on his condition since his 2021 announcement. In 2022, he went on a 16-stop tour called Last Call: One More For The Road. He ended up having to reschedule one show not because of disease complications, but because he tested positive for COVID-19, per Billboard.
“I’ve always admired my heroes like George Jones, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn and Charley Pride who just played as much as they wanted to, as long as they could,” Alan gushed in his tour announcement. “I’ve always thought I’d like to do that, and I’d like to as long as my health will allow. I’ll try to do as much as I can, but if I’m comin’ your way, come see me.”
Luckily, Alan has his daughters and wife by his side as his condition worsens. “When I’m down, he lifts me up. When he’s down, I try to lift him up,” his wife, Denise, noted at this time of his diagnosis announcement. “The happy side of that is we’ve had a fairy-tale life.”
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(With Inputs from hollywoodlife)