Jeff Cook, a Country Music Hall of Fame member as one of the co-founders of the country group Alabama, died Monday at age 73 at his home in Destin, Florida. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012 and revealed his condition to the public in 2017.

Cook was not one of the frontmen of Alabama, which reached its wildly successful commercial peak in the 1980s, but he was immediately recognizable to fans as a key instrumentalist in the group, playing guitar and fiddle as well as contributing vocals alongside co-founders Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry, his cousins. (Cook is pictured above, at left, alongside Owen and Gentry at a 2016 event heralding the opening of an Alabama exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.)

The group accumulated more than 40 No. 1 country singles and a dozen top 10 albums, with smashes in Alabama’s heyday including “Mountain Music,” “Tennessee River,” “Dixieland Delight,” “Feels So Right” and “Song of the South.” Alabama was reported to have sold more than 75 million records globally.

The group was a big awards favorite in the ’80s, getting the top honor from the CMA Awards, entertainer of the year, in for three straight years in 1982-84. The band had an even longer streak with the ACM Awards, getting the entertainer of the year vote from 1982 through 1986; the ACMs also named Alabama artist of the decade in 1989. Alabama was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

Cook’s most recent honor was being elected to the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2019.

“Few bands are more ubiquitous in country music today than Alabama,” said Sarah Trahern, CEO of the Country Music Association. “Jeff was instrumental to Alabama’s high-energy stage presence and authentic country sound. My deepest condolences to Jeff’s family, friends and the band.”

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