Alan Jackson’s battle with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease: ‘It’s getting more and more obvious’

After silently fighting Charcot-Marie Tooth disease for more than a decade, country music star Alan Jackson finally opened up in 2021, sharing that he’s struggling with the disease, which “is getting more and more obvious.”

And recently, he offered an update on his condition and revealed the future of performing live to his beloved fans.

In 2021, the now 65-year-old Alan Jackson was speaking with Today’s Jenna Bush Hager and opened up about his health struggles with Charcot-Marie Tooth disease (CMT).

“I have this neuropathy and neurological disease,” Jackson shared about the illness he’s been battling 10 years. “It’s genetic that I inherited from my daddy…There’s no cure for it, but it’s been affecting me for years.”

“It’s not going to kill me. It’s not deadly,” Added the “Good Times” singer. Offering fans a point of reference, he then said, “But it’s related [to] muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease.”

John Hopkins Medicine describes CMT as “an inherited disorder that affects the nerves supplying the feet, legs, hands, and arms. It is caused by gene defects that are nearly always inherited from a person’s parents.”

The singer of “Chattahoochie” explains that both his grandmother, and older sister also have CMT.

“It’s getting more and more obvious. And I know I’m stumbling around on stage,” said the Georgia born singer. “And now I’m having a little trouble balancing, even in front of the microphone, and so I just feel very uncomfortable.”

His greatest champion

Through his career, the Country Music Hall of Fame member has had the support of his wife, high school sweetheart, Denise Jackson.

The couple wed in 1979 and have three daughters, Mattie (born in 1990), Ali (born in 1993) and Dani (born in 1997).

After a brief separation in 1998, the two have been inseparable, and Denise continues to be his biggest champion.

In fact, when Denise was working as a flight attendant, she met the legendary late Glen Campbell, who she coerced into meeting her husband, an aspiring musician working to make ends meet with a job in the mailroom at the Nashville Network.

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In 2017, following the tragic death of the “Rhinestone Cowboy” singer, Jackson said, “I will always feel like I owe Glen a lot of gratitude – he was my first contact in Nashville when my wife, Denise, was a flight attendant, met him at the airport.” He continues, “He gave her his business card for his publishing company. This connection lead me down the path that brought me to where I am today.”

Seated with her husband at the interview with Bush Hager on Today, Denise said of her husband, “When I’m down, he lifts me up. When he’s down, I try to lift him up.” She continued, “The happy side of that is we’ve had a fairy tale life.”

Thanking Denise for her infinite support, the Grand Old Opry member honored her when accepting the 2022 Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the CMA Awards. “We started out as teenagers, and she’s hung in there and rode this roller-coaster ride with me for 40-something years now,” he said in his heartwarming speech. “I’m probably not always the easiest person to love, but she’s hung in there and helped me through hard times, and we’ve shared great times. The good and the bad, the happy and the sad. We’ve survived a lot.”

Last call

The same year, he embarked on his tour, Last Call: One More for the Road Tour, emphasizing it was not a “farewell tour.”

“I never wanted to do the big retirement tour, like people do, then take a year off and then come back,” he told Bush Hager in the September 2021 interview. “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. I don’t want people to be sad for me, it’s just part of life. I’ve had a wonderful, beautiful life…It’s just good to put it out there in the open. In some ways, it’s a relief.”

He adds, “I’ve been reluctant to talk about this publicly and to my fans…It’s called CMT, ironically enough, because CMT was a big part of my career.”

What are your favorite memories of Alan Jackson? Please let us know what you think in the comments below and then share this story so we can spread a lot of love for the legendary singer who’s “keepin’ it country.”

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