Cook’s fellow band members, Teddy Gentry and Randy Owen, told the newspaper that they kept Cook’s diagnosis secret for years, despite speculation that pinned his visible symptoms on substance abuse problems.
“That’s the part that hurts so bad, for people to think that he’s intoxicated or something,” Owen told The Tennessean. “He’s not, and me and Teddy waited back … we wanted to say a lot of things to these people.”
Alabama rose to fame in the late 1970s and released a string of hits in the 1980s and 1990s. Between 1980 and 1993, 30 of the group's records reached the top of the Billboard country charts, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The group has sold more than 75 million albums.
Alabama got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
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