John Driskell Hopkins, the bassist for the Zac Brown Band, announced he has been diagnosed with ALS. Hopkins shared the news in a video posted to the country music group's official YouTube channel on May 20.
"Over the past several years, I've noticed some balance issues and some stiffness in my hands," he shared. "After careful analysis by some of the country's top neurologists, I have been diagnosed with ALS."
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is sometimes known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It is a neurodegenerative disease that targets the nervous system, making muscles weaken and limiting physical function, according to the ALS Association. The effects on the brain and spinal cord can cause motor function to decrease, and lead to a loss of muscle control, speech and movement. The average life expectancy is two to five years after a diagnosis.
Although there is no cure for ALS, Hopkins, 51, remains hopeful he can continue to play for his fans for a long while.
"Because my symptoms have been slow progressing from the start, we believe they will continue to be slow progressing going forward," continued Hopkins. "God willing, I plan to be rocking with these amazing people for many years to come."
In the video announcement, Hopkins and his bandmates also revealed they have launched the Hop on a Cure foundation to support ALS research and work toward a cure.
"The technology and research surrounding ALS research has been advancing, but we still don't have a cure," Zac Brown said in the clip. "Thanks so much for your prayers and support in helping us cure ALS."
Following the release of their latest album "The Comeback," Zac Brown Band is currently on their 2022 'Out in the Middle' Tour, which kicked off in April. The 32-date international tour will wrap in Phoenix on Nov. 19.