Jeff Cook, Co-Founder of Country Band Alabama, Dead at 73

Cook died on Monday surrounded by friends and family in Florida.

Jeff Cook, the co-founder of the country music band Alabama, has died. He was 73.

Cook died on Monday at his beach home in Destin, Florida, where he was surrounded by family and close friends, according to a press release announcing his death. The cause of death is not known at this time, but Cook had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2012. He stopped touring with the group in 2018 due to his debilitating health.

"Cook was a champion in all he attempted and he courageously faced his battle with a positive attitude," the press release added.

As part of Alabama, the group sold more than 80 million albums and charted 43 No. 1 hits with tracks like "Tennessee River," "If You're Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)" and "Dixieland Delight," quickly becoming one of the most successful bands in country music history. The group was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

With Cook at the helm, Alabama won nine CMA Awards, including three consecutive CMA Entertainer of the Year honors in 1982, 1983 and 1984. The group also scored a CMA Award for Vocal Group of the Year from 1981 to 1983. They also garnered Instrumental Group of the Year in 1981 and 1982 and Album of the Year for The Closer You Get in 1983.

"Few bands are more ubiquitous in Country Music today than Alabama," said CMA CEO Sarah Trahern in a statement. "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."

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to The Jeff and Lisa Foundation. 

Cook, who was born in Fort Payne, Alabama, where the band was formed, is survived by his wife of 27 years, Lisa Cook, his mother, Betty Cook, and siblings, David and Crystal Cook.