Alan Jackson: Here's Why I Stumble Onstage

Country music star reveals he has a degenerative nerve disease
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2021 1:35 PM CDT
Alan Jackson: Here's Why I Stumble Onstage
Alan Jackson performs in April at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Nashville.   (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)

Alan Jackson has known for a decade that he has a degenerative nerve disease. Now that its effects are becoming more obvious, he decided to tell his fans, USA Today reports. "I know I'm stumbling around onstage and now I'm having a little trouble balancing even in front of the microphone," he said, "and so I just feel very uncomfortable, and I just want people to know that's why I look like I do." The country music star made the revelation about Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which is hereditary, on Tuesday during an interview on Today.

"It's genetic that I inherited from my daddy," Jackson said, per ET, comparing the disorder to muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's. "It's not gonna kill me," Jackson said, adding, "It's gonna disable me, eventually." The progressive disease damages the nerves that supply the feet, legs, hands, and arms, per Yahoo Entertainment. Motor and sensory nerves are affected, and Jackson said he's become self-conscious about his struggles onstage, per Fox News. "I think it'll be good for me now to get it out in the open," he said.

A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Jackson, 62, said he has no plans to quit touring; he released his first studio album in six years a few months ago. And he's never been a fan of farewell tours. His heroes in country music, Jackson said, didn't do that, they "just played as much as they could or want to. I always thought I'd like to do that." He'll play as long as his health allows, he said. Jackson also wants to create more songs to leave behind. "He'll have so many songs for our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren to hear and know who he was," said his wife, Denise. (More nerve damage stories.)

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