For the greater part of a decade, 62-year-old country artist Alan Jackson has been battling a “no cure” degenerative neurological ailment called Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome. Jackson shared about his long-term illness on the “Today Show.”
The singer was diagnosed with a hereditary illness around a decade ago. The syndrome is known to impair balance and cause muscular degeneration, and it becomes worse with time.
“It’s not going to kill me,” Jackson told Today on coping with the sickness. It’s not deadly.”
Though he noted that “it’s related to muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease,” and it hampers his ability to play live.
“There is no cure for it,” the “Chattahoochee” singer said, “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.”
Jackson also expressed relief at being able to talk freely about his condition, saying, “In some ways it’s a relief because I was starting to get so self-conscious up there about stumbling around. I think it’ll be good for me now to get it out in the open. If anybody’s curious at why I don’t walk right, that’s why.”
“I think real country music is really not part of mainstream country music anymore,” Jackson, a classic country artist, said of current events in the genre.
“I don’t want to sound like an old, bitter country singer, but, you know, it’s a different generation. I hate to see the real stuff disappear completely because I think it’s a great part of American history.”
Denise Jackson, Jackson’s wife of over 42 years, stated that the pair had had a long and happy life despite his illness.
“The happy side of that is we’ve had a fairytale life,” Denise added. “He’ll have so many songs for our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren to hear and know who he was.”
Jackson also wants to leave a lasting legacy, saying, “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.”