BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma, it was revealed on Monday (January 9). Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphocytes, a type of cell that forms part of the immune system. According to a statement issued by his publicist, the 63-year-old metal legend is currently working with his doctors to establish the best treatment plan and remains upbeat and determined to make a full and successful recovery.
The news comes as the original SABBATH lineup — Iommi, singer Ozzy Osbourne, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward — are writing and recording their first album together in 33 years. The disc is set for release this fall and SABBATH is scheduled to embark on a world tour, although Iommi‘s illness could affect those plans.
SABBATH has been working on its new album in Los Angeles, but now will head back to London to accommodate Iommi’s plans for treatment.
In a brand new statement posted on his official web site, Iommi writes, “My fans, friends and colleagues,
“I just want to say how overwhelmed I am with all your messages of support, thank you so much.
“Well, it’s not what I wanted for Christmas, that’s for sure, but now I can’t wait for the test results to come in and get going with the treatment.
“It’s really good that the guys are coming over so that we can continue working on the album as things are going great in the studio.
“Well, not much else to say at this time, so thanks again.
“Bless you all, Tony.”
Iommi told The Pulse Of Radio that ever since re-learning how to play guitar after severing two fingertips as a teenager, he’s always been determined to fight his way through anything. “I’ve always been the same,” he said. “I always have to try to get over that barrier, whatever it may be, and do it, you know. And that’s continued in what I do with the music. People have said over the years, ‘Well, why do you still keep playing and why do you still hold BLACK SABBATH together through the different lineups?’ Because I’m determined to do it, I’m determined to carry on. And it’s been with everything like that.”
Iommi‘s bandmate in SABBATH and HEAVEN HELL, legendary heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio, died of stomach cancer in May 2010 at the age of 67.