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Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi Thankful for Ozzy Osbourne’s Support During Lymphoma Treatment

Tony Iommi-Ozzy Osbourne
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has a lot to be thankful for as he continues his recovery from lymphoma cancer and he says the support of his bandmates, in particular Ozzy Osbourne, has been so welcome.

It wasn’t that long ago that Iommi and Osbourne were at odds, contemplating legal action over usage of the Black Sabbath name, but the guitarist says that even then they weren’t truly angry with each other. He tells the Birmingham Mail, “The truth is that Ozzy and I have never really fallen out personally. When there have been issues, it has been purely business. Even when there has been a problem, we’ve carried on talking. There’s never been a bad vibe.”

Iommi credits Osbourne with really pushing him to stay on top of his treatment once he was diagnosed with lymphoma. He says, “Ozzy was the one who kept at me to go to the doctors because he was concerned about me, and he has been very supportive since I was diagnosed. In fact, all the guys in the band have been great. Even now, when we arrive at the studio, they ask how I’m feeling, if I’m up to it, making sure that I’m OK.”

The guitarist reveals that he still has regular appointments at the Parkway Hospital in Solihull to make sure the cancer doesn’t come back. “I have to have an antibody administered by drip every six weeks or so to keep the lymphoma in check. It sort of coats the cancer cells, stops it from going anywhere else. I have to come back home no matter where I might be in the world. The tour dates are arranged so that I can always get back for treatment. It’s the only way I can manage my illness and keep on the road.”

Iommi says he’d love to play more shows, but his health comes first. And with each treatment, there’s a period of feeling sick and tired that has to pass before he feels able to play again. “In myself, I’m feeling OK now,” says Iommi. “When I first found that I had the illness, it was a dark time and I was a bit spaced out. Since we’ve been in rehearsals and recording sessions, I’ve felt pretty good — great even. I think that the album and tour have given me something immediate to get my teeth into, something to accomplish.”

He concludes, “Medics say that the condition is manageable with treatment. I enjoy where I’m at now, I really do. It’s a good place. I’ve got a good home life and a good family, great friends and support. And I’m fortunate because I’m still able to go out and play music.”

Iommi and Black Sabbath will return with their ‘13‘ album on June 10.

Next: Black Sabbath Announce Initial 2013 North American Dates

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