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Ozzy Osbourne on Tony Iommi’s Cancer Diagnosis: ‘I Always Think Cancer Means Death’

Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

For over two years, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has battled cancer. Through songwriting, massive touring and all the work that comes with releasing a new album, Iommi has risen to the occasion, giving all he has to millions of Sabbath fans worldwide. Despite Iommi’s incredible efforts, Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne admitted that he initially thought Iommi was handed a death sentence by doctors.

Less than two months after Black Sabbath announced the Nov. 11, 2011 reunion of the band’s four original members, news broke that Iommi had been diagnosed with lymphoma. The health setback, along with drummer Bill Ward‘s departure from the reunion, halted Sabbath’s world tour and original plans to record a new album, but in the summer of 2013, Black Sabbath attained their first ever No. 1 album in the U.S. with ’13’ while playing massive venues all over the planet.

In a new interview with the Toronto Sun, Ozzy Osbourne spoke about Tony Iommi’s cancer diagnosis, along with Ozzy’s wife, Sharon Osbourne, recovering from colon cancer:

I haven’t had one of them dark phone calls so I presume he’s okay. He’s unbelievable. I mean, any of us could be diagnosed with cancer. I always think cancer means death. I didn’t know anybody who’d recovered. My wife recovered from colon cancer and that was the first person I ever knew. But he just accepts it and gets on with it. I mean it’s got to be worrying. But he’s doing fine I think, I hope. He’s unbelievable. We all know our job, we all know our craft but he’s a very talented guy. Considering on his fret hand he’s got no fingertips, he plays with prosthetic fingers at the end. I’ve often said to him, ‘How the hell do you know when you’re touching the strings?’ I don’t know. It’s amazing.

Black Sabbath aren’t slowing down at all. The band is currently touring North America in support of ’13’.

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