Zac Brown Speaks on Bandmate's 'Tough' ALS Diagnosis

Zac Brown is giving an update on bandmate John Driskell Hopkins following his 2022 ALS diagnosis. The Zac Brown Band lead singer, 44, opened up to PEOPLE about Hopkins' health while touring with the band following his diagnosis with the neurological disease, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, which affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to the gradual loss of voluntary muscle control.

"It's been tough for Hop and our band, but he is our brother and we're doing all that we can to support him every day," Brown said, adding that the band is definitely feeling the love from their fans and "Zamily" members who have contributed to Hopkins' fundraising efforts for ALS research. "Thanks to our Zamily, we've been able to make big strides with supporting Hop's organization Hop On A Cure in finding and providing the resources and support needed to help find a cure for ALS," he said.

Brown also noted that his band, which was been together since 2002, truly considers one another family: "We eat together, laugh together, and always have each other's back. It's a really supportive tribe we have and I'm blessed to call them my brothers, and sister!" he said.

Hopkins, 52, announced in May 2022 that he had been diagnosed with ALS by neurologists who identified his symptoms. "Over the past several years, I've noticed some balance issues and some stiffness in my hands. After careful analysis by some of the country's top neurologists, I have been diagnosed with ALS," he said. "Because my symptoms have been slow progressing from the start, we believe they will continue to be slow progressing going forward. ...God willing, I plan to be rocking with these amazing people for many years to come."

In June, Hopkins told PEOPLE he didn't feel "a lot different" than he did at the time of his diagnosis, but "can tell that some things are continuing to slow down." He continued, "My voice is being affected and that's something that I really notice as a singer, but I'm still playing and I'm still performing and still singing." Hopkins said it was his wife, Jennifer, and their three daughters, who were keeping him going through it all, adding, "Every year I get to do that (tour with the band) is another year that I feel immeasurably blessed."