Alan Jackson suffering from degenerative nerve condition

Alan Jackson suffering from degenerative nerve condition: 'It's getting more and more obvious'

Nothing can get between Alan Jackson and his love for music, but Charcot-Marie-Tooth is trying.

The Grammy-winning country star revealed to Jenna Bush Hager on "TODAY" that he has been suffering from the degenerative nerve condition for 10 years.

"I've been reluctant to talk about this publicly and to my fans, but it's been awhile, and it's starting to affect my performance on stage a little bit where I don't feel comfortable. I just wanted the fans and the public to know, if they've come to see me in the last few years or if they come to see me in the future if I play anymore, what's going on. I don't want them to think I'm drunk on stage because I'm having problems with mobility and balance. I have this neuropathy and neurological disease that's genetic that I inherited from my daddy. 

"It's called CMT, ironically enough because CMT [Country Music Television] was a big part of my career. I made more music videos than anybody in the industry, I think. ... It's a degenerative nerve disease. It affects your nerves and muscles in your extremities — your legs and your arms and hands — and so it gets worse as it goes along. There's no cure for it. My daddy had it, and we realize now that my grandmother had it on each side, and my oldest sister who's 10 years older than me has it, and she doesn't get around too good now. 

"But it's been affecting me for years, and it's getting more and more obvious. I know I'm stumbling around on stage, and now, I'm having a little trouble balancing even in front of the microphone, and so I just feel very uncomfortable. I just want people to know that's why I look like I do, if they're wondering."

The 62-year-old emphasized that he isn't looking for sympathy because the disease is "not gonna kill me," but it is similar to the more well-known muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's disease.

"It's just gonna disable me eventually," he added. "My daddy died in his early 70s. He could still walk a little bit, but it is already affecting me tremendously. Again, I don't want to appear like I'm whining about it. I've had a wonderful, beautiful life."

Jackson's primary lament is that CMT could prohibit him from touring and performing for as long as he would prefer, but he noted that he still plans on releasing music regardless. To that end, Jackson released a new album, "Where Have You Gone," in May — his 16th solo studio album overall and first project full of all original tracks since 2015.

For more information on CMT, visit the Mayo Clinic's official website.

Watch Jackson's full 30-minute interview below.

Megan Armstrong (@megankarmstrong) is a writer with previous work appearing in places such as Billboard, Bleacher Report, GQ and others. She's most interested in writing about people and how they live their lives, through the framework of music, entertainment and sports.

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