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Jeff Cook

Alabama’s Jeff Cook, Dead At 73

Jeff Cook (Photo: Kristen Van Zant)
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DESTIN, FL (CelebrityAccess) — Jeff Cook, the legendary southern country rock guitarist and founding member of Alabama, has died. He was 73.

According to a statement from his publicist, Cook died at his home in Destin, Florida, on November 8th after a decade-long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

A native of Fort Wayne, Alabama, Cook was playing lead guitar and keyboards for local bands by the time he was 13 years old.

After securing an FCC broadcast license while still a teenager, Cook landed a role as a DJ on a local Fort Payne radio station, presaging his later ownership of radio and television stations.

Cook went on to earn a degree in Electronic Technology from Gadsden State Community College in Gadsden, Alabama and was named “Outstanding Alumni” by the American Association of Community Colleges.

A multi-instrumentalist, Cook was known for his ability to play just about anything with strings, including the piano, guitar, fiddle, bass guitar, banjo, mandolin, and was credited for introducing the iconic double neck guitar into country music.

Cook, along with his cousins Randy Owens and Teddy Gentry launched the band that would become Alabama in 1969. The band, which was first called Wild Country, played the bar circuit in the Southeastern U.S. before changing their name to Alabama in 1977 ahead of a label deal with RCA Nashville.

Alabama went on to release more than 40 #1 country singles, amassing more than 75 million in album sales, making them one of the top-selling country acts in history.

He finally stepped away from the band amid health issues in 2018.

Cook was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Musicians Hall of Fame, Fiddlers Hall of Fame and Gibson’s Guitarist of the Year, among other honors.

“Few bands are more ubiquitous in Country Music today than Alabama. 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,” said Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern after news of Cook’s passing was announced.

Cook married Lisa Williams, on June 9, 1995, and the couple resided in “Cook Castle” atop Lookout Mountain in Fort Payne, AL, Guntersville, AL and Destin/Miramar Beach, FL.

Along with his music, Cook was an active philanthropist and he and Lisa launched The Jeff and Lisa Cook Foundation, along with The Jeff and Lisa Cook Children’s Home to house orphaned children worldwide, starting in the Philippines.

Cook is survived by his wife of 27 years Lisa Cook, their dogs Blazer and Blakely, his mother Betty Cook, his brother David Cook, Crystal Cook, his father-in-law Jerrial Williams, his brother-in-law Randy Williams and many nieces and nephews. Cook was pre-deceased by his father James Cook and his mother-in-law, JoAnn Williams.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to THE JEFF AND LISA COOK FOUNDATION:

Arrangements for Cook’s “Celebration of Life” will be announced at a later date.

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