As the news spread that Alabama's Jeff Cook had passed away, reactions poured in from some of the biggest names in the music industry.
During Wednesday's 56th Annual CMA Awards show, Matthew Ramsey of the group Old Dominion recognized Cook while accepting the award for Vocal Group of the Year, saying, "There's nobody in this category, and really any category, that would be here without Alabama, and we just lost Jeff Cook. It's got me thinking and there's nothing like being in a band. I'm so grateful to have my friends and can't imagine losing one of you guys. And I'm so happy to be able to make music."
The audience in the Nashville crowd loudly applauded at the mention of Cook's name.
The Oak Ridge Boys tweeted, "Jeff was a longtime friend and brother as has been Randy and Teddy over all these times passing! It is a heartbreaking loss for all that knew Jeff. Alabama is in our prayers. Rest in peace, Jeff."
Blake Shelton tweeted that Cook was an "absolute legend" in country music.
Travis Tritt called Cook, "such a great guy an one heckuva bass fisherman."
Kenny Chesney said, "Jeff Cook, and all of the guys in Alabama, were so generous with wisdom and fun when I got to tour with them as a young artist. They showed a kid in a T-shirt that country music could be rock, could be real, could be someone who looked like me. Growing up in East Tennessee, that gave me the heart to chase this dream."
Ricky Skaggs tweeted, "Jeff was such an integral part of [Alabama's] sound. He was a great musician and singer. Rest in peace my old friend."
Jason Aldean tweeted, "I spent a lot of my life listening to him play guitar, 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."
Lee Greenwood said, " We ran a lot of roads together back in the '80s. I was proud to tour with Alabama for four years! Night after night I watched them create magic like I had never seen before. Jeff was a unique part of the group Alabama and a really good guitar player and fiddle player. We thought we were forever young. This one hits hard. Go rest high on that mountain, Jeff Cook."
Bryan White tweeted, "What impact he made on country music. Such an influence to many. Co founder of a band that literally changed the landscape."
Grammy-nominated record producer and engineer David Hammonds said, "I am lost for words right now! Heaven gained a great musician. Play on, Jeff! Play on."
David and Howard Belamy of The Bellamy Brothers posted, "The first time we met Jeff Cook was at a Nashville sushi bar. he said, 'You guys should come on tour with us.' We said, 'We'd love to.' A week later, we were invited to join Alabama and Charlie Daniels on the biggest country music tour in America. We're devastated by Jeff's passing. He and all the Alabama Band have always been such great friends. Prayers for his immediate family and road family and the many who loved him."
Beach Boys lead singer Mike Love said he was "very sad to hear of the passing of a founding member of one of America's greatest groups. We'll miss you."
Cook’s death was also memorialized on Twitter by both the Academy of Country Music and the CMA Awards, with the former organization pointing out that the musician and his bandmates remain the “most awarded group in ACM Awards history.”
Several performers reminisced about listening to Cook's music on Alabama's recordings as they grew up.
Shane Owens wrote, "One of my all-time favorites growing up! Was fortunate to meet Jeff Cook and the boys on a couple of different occasions. One of the best guitar pickers ever!"
J.D. Shelburne said Cook was "a staple" of "the highest-selling country band of all time. Their music traces back to my childhood...! He helped put Fort Payne on the map and he's going to be missed tremendously. Prayers also to Randy [Owen] and Teddy [Gentry] as they continue their legacy in Jeff's honor."
Makenzie Phipps also reminisced about listening to Cook as he grew up and said "his playing will live on in this world and he will be dearly missed."
Paige King Johnson wrote, "Jeff has played such a big part in music history for years and has a legacy that will live on for centuries, I'm sure! My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this hard time."
Whitney Miller said, "I have countless fond memories of my family and me dancing around and listening to his music. Sending my love and prayers to his family during this time. The legend of Jeff lives on in all of our hearts.”
Heath Wright of Ricochet said, "In 1980 I heard my first Alabama song on the radio. I immediately fell in love with the harmonies, blazing guitar solos, and honest lyrics about being a country boy and growing up in the South... [Jeff] told us that no matter what we do or how we play it needs to ‘come from the heart.'"
T. Graham Brown tweeted, "He and Lisa always invited Sheila and I to stay with them at 'The Castle' and they were the most gracious hosts."
Lacy J. Dalton wrote, "Jeff was an honest-to-God good ol' boy!! We will all miss him."
Charlie Daniels, Jr. tweeted, "Heaven gained another guitar/fiddle player today."
Tim Atwood reflected on a night in 2020 when he and Cook sat at pianos for the joy of it, writing, "Jeff was happy singing the classics. He simply loved the music!"
Janie Fricke said her two years touring with Alabama were "a most important time in my career. Jeff's talent and his life of being a great entertainer will never be forgotten."
Stella Parton said, "I'll always cherish the memories of touring around teh Southeast together wenn you guys were calling yourselves 'Wild Country'. Save me a seat on the fishing boat. I'll see you on the other side."
Ron Fairchild said, "this just reinforces my belief that life is short and our health is PARAMOUNT. More important than anything else. Take care of your health. The world will miss you, Jeff. You made a mark bigger than I ever could."
David Frizzel wrote, "Frizzell and West & Alabama worked a lot of shows together in the early ’80s. It was great working with these talented guys. So sorry to hear of Jeff Cook’s passing.”
Cook's fame transcended just the music industry. A huge "Star Trek" fan, he collaborated with actor William Shatner, recording an album at Cook Studio in Fort Payne in 2018.
Outside of recording and touring with Alabama, Cook released a handful of solo projects and toured with his Allstar Goodtime Band.
Country Music Hall of Fame CEO Kyle Young said "everything [Cook] did was rooted in his deep love of music."