Country music icon Alan Jackson recently revealed that he has been battling Charcot-Mare-Tooth disease – a degenerative nerve condition that affects mobility. The legendary hitmaker opened up to Today host Jenna Bush Hager in late September at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum about his lifelong illness and how it has been impacting his artistry.
“I have this neuropathy and neurological disease,” says Jackson in an exclusive interview. “It’s genetic that I inherited from my daddy. There’s no cure for it, 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 trouble balancing, even in front of the microphone, and so I just feel very uncomfortable,” he adds.
While Jackson’s health might be fresh news to music-goers, he shared that he has been dealing with the condition for ten years under the radar. Although his body may be getting weaker, he confirmed that he would not be stepping away from the limelight anytime soon. “I’ve never wanted to do the big retirement tour, like people do, then take a year off and come back,” the hitmaker shared. “I think that’s kinda cheesy. And I’m not saying I won’t be able to tour. I’ll try to do as much as I can.”
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is not deadly, but it is related to dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, individuals facing the hardships that go along with having the illness can attend supportive therapy. It is unknown if the country music legend is undergoing treatment, but we are aware that he is receiving unless support at home from my wife, Denise Jackson.
“When I’m down, he lifts me up,” says Jackson’s high school sweetheart to the Today Show. “When he’s down, I try to lift him up. The happy side of that is we’ve had a fairy-tale life,” she adds.
Denise continued to explain that she has watched him and his career flourish throughout the years. Within a blink of an eye, she witnessed her husband become a country music legend by staying loyal to his traditional sound and his storytelling ways. The icon agreed that a weight had been lifted off his shoulders, now that he had more room to experiment without the pressure of country radio. “I feel a little more freedom now because I’m not trying to worry about getting on the radio and fitting into their limitations,” the icon shared.
“He’ll have so many songs for our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren to hear and know who he was,” says Denise about his musical legacy. “To know what was important to him. To get a little touch of our lives together through his music.”
It’s no secret that Jackson will be leaving behind a solid and influential legacy, as his music speaks volumes of his cutting-edge talents and the man he is at his very core. While Jackson continues to fight his battle with CMT – he remains engaged with his fans by promoting his latest record, Where Have You Gone.