Alabama's Jeff Cook Dies At 73

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Guitarist Jeff Cook, a founding member of country group Alabama, died Monday at his home in Florida. He was 73.

“I spent a lot of my life listening to him play guitar,” tweeted Jason Aldean. “What an iconic sound he had. I got a chance to perform with him multiple times over the years and I will never forget it.”

Born in Alabama, Cook started playing guitar and piano at 13 and eventually learned to play the fiddle, banjo, mandolin and bass guitar. He teamed up with cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry in 1969 to form Wild Country.

The band changed its name to Alabama in 1977, landed a record deal and became one of the most successful country groups ever. The long list of hits include “Tennessee River,” “Mountain Music” and “I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why).”

Cook announced in 2017 that he would no longer tour with Alabama, due to his health. "Approximately four years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease,” he wrote at the time. "This has made it extremely frustrating to play guitar, fiddle, or sing.”

Fans and famous friends are paying tribute to Cook on social media. “This is a heartbreaking loss for all that knew Jeff,” read a tweet from Oak Ridge Boys. 

“Such a great guy an one heckuva bass fisherman,” shared Travis Tritt. “He will be truly missed.”

Ricky Skaggs tweeted: “Jeff was such an integral part of their sound. He was a great musician and singer.”

He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Lisa, as well as his mother, brother and others.

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