John Driskell Hopkins of the country music group Zac Brown Band says he has been diagnosed with ALS.
Hopkins, 51, revealed the "tough news" in a video Friday with his bandmates: "Over the past several years, I've noticed some balance issues and some stiffness in my hands," he said. "After careful analysis by some of the country's top neurologists, I have been diagnosed with ALS."
Hopkins, also known as Hop, said he plans to keep performing with Zac Brown Band.
"Because my symptoms have been slow progressing from the start, we believe they will continue to be slow progressing going forward," Hopkins said. "God willing, I plan to be rocking with these amazing people for many years to come."
Hopkins and his bandmates announced the launch of the Hop on a Cure Foundation to fund research towards a cure for the disease. According to the new foundation's website, Hopkins was first diagnosed with ALS in December 2021 and immediately set to work creating the organization.
"The technology and research surrounding ALS research has been advancing, but we still don't have a cure," Zac Brown said in the video message. "Thanks so much for your prayers and support in helping us cure ALS."
According to Zac Brown Band's website, Hopkins joined the group in 2005 but has known Brown since the 90s. The group is on tour in the U.S. into November.
What is ALS?
ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. According to the ALS Association, the progressive neurodegenerative disease affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
ALS can gradually cause muscle weakness, loss of motor control and loss of speech and movement. There is no known cure.