Ozzy Osbourne helped Tony Iommi discover he had cancer

Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler has revealed Ozzy Osbourne was responsible for Tony Iommi realising he had cancer in 2012.

In his new book, Into the Void, Butler discussed the process of making their final album 13 which was marred for a multitude of reasons, including Iommi’s cancer battle. “As writing was in process at Ozzy’s house, he made the observation that Tony had lost too much weight and that he should get checked out. When Tony got back to England, he was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma,” Butler wrote.

The bassist then commended Iommi for his commitment to carrying on with Black Sabbath despite being in chemotherapy. Butler explained: “If I’d been diagnosed with cancer, I’d have canceled everything and stayed at home for the rest of my life. But Tony’s not like that.”

“When me and Ozzy flew to England to resume writing, Tony would have chemotherapy in the morning and come straight home to his studio, where we’d put some ideas together,” he continued.

Butler stated Iommi was “tired and nauseous” during the writing process. However, despite “his hair was falling out” due to the cancer treatment, Iommi “was determined to plow on, just like he did when he lost the tips of his fingers.”

While Iommi was unable to tour extensively with Black Sabbath, he vowed to perform with them at Download Festival in 2012. Butler said Iommi’s appearance was his way of proving “there was plenty of life in the old dogs yet.”

In 2016, Iommi revealed his cancer was in remission. A year earlier, he’d told the Daily Mirror: “The surgeon told me he doesn’t expect the cancer to go away. So, I look at life differently now. I could be here another 10 years or just one year — I don’t know.”

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