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Zac Brown Band’s John Driskell Hopkins shares his ALS battle and the song he’s writing for his daughters

The Recording Academy Atlanta Chapter Summer Member Celebration
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Back in May, founding Zac Brown Band member John Driskell Hopkins told fans he had “tough news to share”: He’d been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS.

In a new CBS Mornings interview, John offers a detailed look into his daily life with ALS. He first noticed symptoms in 2019, when he realized his right hand wasn’t working as quickly as it used to.

“And I remember sitting on the bus and talking to the guys and saying, ‘Something’s wrong with my hand,’” he says.

ZBB has been by John’s side since the beginning — they stood alongside him in his video message announcing the news, and mounted a sold-out benefit show at the Ryman earlier this fall to raise awareness and funds for ALS research. And the musician’s wife and three daughters have been equally invested in his ALS journey since his diagnosis.

His wife, Jennifer, gives him daily treatments, and John says he worries about his disease getting to the point where it could “ruin her adult life,” tearfully adding, “I don’t wanna burden this one.”

As for their daughters? John says he’s currently recording his voice speaking a variety of words so that he can still communicate with them in his own voice, even if the disease claims his ability to talk.

He’s also at work on three songs related to his ALS, including one called “I Love You Forever,” directed to his wife “and to the babies,” he explains.

“I haven’t finished it,” John continues. “Can’t finish it.”

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