The esteemed figure in country music, Alan Jackson, courageously unveiled his ongoing battle with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease.
Despite grappling with health setbacks, Jackson persisted in touring and creating music.
His partnership with the CMT Research Foundation underscored his dedication to securing funds for the advancement of research and treatment.
As a stalwart in the realm of country music, Alan Jackson’s enduring allure distinguishes him from contemporaneous country artists like Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, and Blake Shelton.
Accruing a substantial fortune of $150 million, attributed to his songwriting prowess, a discography featuring 21 albums, successful collaborations, including the hit duet “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere” with Jimmy Buffett, and numerous triumphant tours, Jackson concealed his health struggles from the public eye for over a decade. However, he eventually disclosed his battle with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder, an uncommon genetic condition.
To safeguard his privacy, Alan Jackson concealed his deteriorating health condition.
In a 2021 interview with Today, he candidly shared the details of his prolonged health challenges, revealing a diagnosis of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a degenerative neurological disorder. Jackson articulated how the condition impeded his mobility, leading to on-stage stumbles and difficulties in maintaining balance.
A decade ago, Jackson received a diagnosis of CMT. While managing the condition privately for years, he chose to openly discuss his diagnosis due to the disease’s visible progression. Jackson disclosed that this genetic disorder not only affected him but also impacted his sister, father, and grandmother.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease predominantly affects the small muscles of the hands and feet, causing challenges in balance maintenance. Importantly, the disorder does not affect life expectancy and can be managed through supportive medical care.
Key Personal Information about Alan Jackson:
- Full Name: Alan Eugene Jackson
- Date of Birth: October 17, 1958
- Birthplace: Newnan, Georgia
- Parents: Eugene Jackson (father), Ruth Jackson (mother)
- Siblings: Diane, Cathy, and Carol (twins)
- Spouse: Denise Jackson (married on December 15, 1979)
- Daughters: Mattie Denise (born June 1990), Alexandra “Ali” Jane (born August 1993), Dani Grace (born August 1997)
As his health declined, Jackson found solace and support from his daughters and his 41-year-old wife, Denise Jackson. Denise expressed on Today, “When I’m down, he lifts me up. When he’s down, I try to lift him up.” She added, “The sweet part about it is that we have lived a fairy tale-like life.”
Jackson also acknowledged his hesitancy in discussing his diagnosis publicly, aiming to avoid any misconceptions about retirement. He clarified that as long as his physical condition permits, he intends to persist in his musical journey.
In 2022, Jackson embarked on a 16-stop tour, “Last Call: One More for the Road,” but had to reschedule a show due to a positive COVID-19 test.
Alan Jackson actively supported health research for Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. In March 2022
The CMT Research Foundation disclosed details of Jackson’s collaboration, intertwining with his “Last Call: One More for the Road Tour,” aimed at generating funds for research and treatment initiatives for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
Alan Jackson, captivating the audience on stage for Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease Research Foundation: Instagram
It is approximated that this disease affects approximately 150,000 people in the United States and around 3 million people worldwide, with no existing cure or approved treatment. CEO Cleary Simpson of the CMT Research Foundation expressed gratitude for Jackson’s partnership and his endeavors in fundraising.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) Disease Insights:
- Etymology (1886)
- Coined by Jean-Martin Charcot, MD
- Further developed by Pierre Marie, MD
- Collaborated on by Howard Henry Tooth, MD
- Affected Region
- Peripheral nervous system, encompassing nerves in extremities and spinal cord
- Underlying Cause
- Originates from genetic mutations inherited from one or both parents
- Muscle weakness in feet and legs
- Feet deformities
- Foot drop
- Sensations of numbness, tingling, and burning in hands and feet
- Diagnostic Approaches
- Genetic mutation detection via blood tests
- Nerve conduction studies
- Nerve biopsy
- Potential Complications
- Heightened risk of falls
- Muscular atrophy
- Unexplained foot injuries and infections
Jackson’s official website proudly declared a philanthropic initiative, announcing a $1 donation to the CMT Research Foundation for every ticket sold. Committed supporters and board members matched these contributions from ticket buyers.
Jackson emphasized the imperative elements for progressing towards a cure: funding, awareness, collaborative scientific efforts, and cutting-edge technology. Pat Livney, Co-Founder and President of CMT Research Foundation, expressed optimism, stating, “We are closer than ever to success.”
Despite grappling with health adversities, Jackson persevered in crafting music and gracing the stage for country.
He affirmed, “Music is paramount. Songs are essential. If there’s a legacy, I’d want it to be leaving behind some timeless music. I’ve led a beautiful life, and I’m grateful. It’s liberating to share it openly.”
Grounded in traditional country music, Alan Jackson stands out for preserving its essence. Even when compelled to replicate a live performance at an awards ceremony, he reflected on his journey, finding contentment in creating the music he desired.
Alan Jackson’s Country Music Inductions:
- Country Music Hall of Fame
- Songwriters Hall of Fame
- NSAI Songwriters Hall of Fame
In a February 2023 podcast interview hosted by his daughter Mattie Jackson, Alan shared his plans to release new music, driven by creative inspiration. Teasing the prospect of another album, he hinted at exploring fresh ideas for songs and melodies.
Alan Jackson’s Accomplishments (source: official website):
- 19 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards
- 16 Country Music Association (CMA) Awards
- 2 Grammy Awards
- 58 American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) Awards
- 12 Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) Awards
- 2 American Music Awards
- 3 Billboard Awards
- 6 Music City News Songwriter Awards
- 1 Nashville Music Award
- 5 R&R Readers’ Poll Awards
- 2 SRO Awards
- 29 TNN/CMT/Country Weekly Awards
- 1 ACM Hitmaker Award
- 1 Blockbuster Entertainment Award
- 2 Christian Country Music Association (CCMA) Awards
- 1 Inspirational Country Music (ICM) Award
- 1 CMT Flameworthy Music Video Award
- 4 Country Weekly Fan Favorite Awards
- 1 Gospel Music Association Dove Award
- 1 Country Music Channel Australia (CMC) Award
Jackson stated during his acceptance of the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the 56th Annual CMA Awards:
“Country music has been real good to me and I fell in love with it when I was a young man.”
Despite health hurdles, Jackson vocalized his commitment to staying active. Rejecting the notion of a grand retirement tour, he asserted, “I’m not into the whole retiring, coming back routine. It’s not my style. As long as I can, I’ll keep doing what I love.”