Original Fuel Drummer Jody Abbott Dies from Huntington’s Disease

courtesy The Huntington's Disease Society of America

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Jody Abbott, the original drummer for the band Fuel, died earlier this month on July 20, announced his family and the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. He was 55.

The cause of death was Huntington’s Disease, a fatal genetic disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain, which is described by officials as having ALS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease all at once.

According to a press statement about Memphis resident Abbott’s passing, “today there are approximately 41,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at risk of inheriting the disease.”

In 1989, Abbott joined what would later become the band in its formative years. Abbott met lyricist and guitarist Carl Bell and the two formed a college campus band, Wanted, in Henderson, Tennessee. That band would transition to a number of names and identities, from Phoenix and Reel Too Real to Small the Joy.

The group finally landed on the moniker, Fuel, before self-releasing their second EP, Porcelain, in 1996. In the late ’90s, Abbott left the band, and session drummer Jonathan Mover replaced him.

From the mid-to-late ’90s, Abbott helped to record and release four EPs from Fuel, including Small the Joy, Fuel, Porcelain, and Hazleton. One of their songs, “Shimmer,” went on to the top the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

Then, after leaving Fuel, Abbott went on to join another rock group, Breaking Point. That band released its first album in 2001, Coming of Age. Songs from the group were included in films like The Scorpion King, Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug, and Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge.  

Abbott, however, had the genetic disease that would eventually end his life.

He is survived by his wife Amy and two children.

Abbott’s wife shared a statement about her husband’s death and for those to get tested for Huntington’s Disease, as well. She said, “Be involved in your community. Seek out a support group. Volunteer for a fundraiser. There is so much knowledge out there and it is important to talk to people who have lived through this. They can commiserate, understand and offer support in times of need. I learn something new every time I attend an HD event, visit Jody’s neurologist, or attend a support group meeting.”  

To learn more about Huntington’s disease, visit www.HDSA.org or call 1 (800) 345-HDSA.

Photo courtesy The Huntington’s Disease Society of America

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