NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — When Jeff Cook and his cousins came to Myrtle Beach in 1973, it was just the start of their band Alabama’s legendary career in country music.

Cook and his bandmates from Fort Payne, Alabama, performed as the main house band at The Bowery in Myrtle Beach for seven years before setting off to tour across the country. He died on Monday in Destin, Florida, at the age of 73.

“He was a different person,” said Victor Shamah, who owns and operates The Bowery. “He was always very personable to everybody. Jeff had a lot of friends all over the country and all over the world.”

Shamah said he knew Cook had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for several years.

“I’m glad to know he’s finally at peace,” he said.

Bob Wood, the president of the Alabama Theatre in North Myrtle Beach, which opened in 1993, said Cook was close with country music singer Kenny Chesney.

“He had been talking about how good of an influence Jeff had been on him,” Wood said. “Jeff was just a real mentor to him.”.

Shamah said he was thrilled for Cook as Alabama’s popularity surged and the band started touring.

“They left here July 12, 1980, and I was very proud and very happy for them,” he said. “[Cook] was just an extraordinary guy to get to know and to know him. That stardom never really hit Jeff Cook,” Shamah said.

Wood helped create the Alabama Theatre, and he recalled its early days.

“I remember I was in the Green Room back there, and when we were just starting to open the building, and he came in and kind of slapped me on the back and said ‘well, we made it, didn’t we?’ So, I do remember that,” Wood said.