Alan Jackson, a well-known country music artist, recently shared the bad news with his fans and followers. The 62-year-old Grammy winner has been diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) illness, a degenerative neurological condition that hinders his balance and diminishes the size and power of his muscles.
As he has acknowledged feeling unsteady and uncomfortable on stage, this may hinder his ability to stand on his two feet and play live.
Despite the tragic news, Jackson is optimistic that his illness will not prohibit him from touring, but only time will tell if he is accurate.
CMT disease is a hereditary ailment that Jackson received from his father, who also had it, and his grandmother, who also had it. Jackson’s sister is also battling CMT at the moment. There is no cure for the disease, however, it is not fatal, despite being linked to other conditions such as Parkinson’s and muscular dystrophy.
During an interview with TODAY program anchor Jenna Bush Hager, Jackson announced his diagnosis, saying it was a “gift” to be able to share his disease with the public and live his life authentically rather than attempting to disguise it. “It’s been affecting me for years, and it’s becoming more and more visible,” he explained. “I’m aware that I’m stumbling around on stage.”
“And now I’m having difficulties balancing, even in front of the microphone, and I’m just feeling extremely uneasy. I think it’ll benefit me to get it out there now.”
Despite the limitations given by CMT condition, Jackson has already accomplished much in his country music career. In the United States, he has sold over 45 million albums, making him one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. Last year, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, attended by other country music giants such as Loretta Lynn and Lee Ann Womack.
“He was practicing his tunes backstage. And I remember looking at him and telling him, ‘You’re going to be one of the best country singers. He has not disappointed me.’”
Although Jackson’s CMT diagnosis has been a handicap, it has not prevented him from attaining enormous success in the world of country music. He has the encouragement and support of his fans and fellow musicians, and despite the problems he encounters, he will continue to compose music and inspire others.