BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi says that his cancer will likely come back — more than a year after he announced that he was in remission.
Iommi was diagnosed with lymphoma in early 2012, shortly after SABBATH announced a reunion tour and album. He underwent treatment throughout the recording of the disc, titled “13”, and the subsequent tour to promote it.
Eight months after BLACK SABBATH brought its farewell tour to an end in the band’s hometown of Birmingham, England, Iommi told Loudwire that he had to retire from the road because he could no longer travel for extended amounts of time.
“Well, for me, it’s always hard traveling,” he said (see video below). “Since I was diagnosed, I have to sort of be careful and not stay up too late and get some rest, which I wasn’t, because we were traveling after the show. So by the time you get to the hotel, [it’s] three or four o’clock in the morning. And I normally wake up early — I wake up when it’s light — so you don’t get many hours sleep. But, you know, there’s nothing I can knock about it. I love playing on the road, I love being in the band, I love playing to the fans, but it’s just the other side. You can only do what you can do and your physical side takes over and you get tired. And after doing so many shows, I really did get tired.”
Speaking about how his cancer diagnosis has changed his perspective on life, Iommi said: “Well, to me, it’s never gonna go away; it’s always gonna be there. According to my oncologist, the professor, he said it’s probably gonna come back. So it’s hard to sort of go, ‘Oh, well, that’s brilliant then.’ But I do live [day] by day now, and just every day is a winner, really. And we’ll see. I hope it doesn’t come back, but you never know.”
Iommi said in 2016 interview that “the lowest moment” for him was being diagnosed. He explained: “You automatically wind yourself up saying, ‘That’s it then,’ but that is not always the case. When they tell you, you think, ‘Oh God.’ That was a low time. I have had a few low times in my life like everybody has, but that was one that stuck in the head.”
SABBATH singer Ozzy Osbourne told The Pulse Of Radio in 2014 that Iommi never let his condition slow him down: “My hat goes off to him ’cause he really is Iron Man. I mean, that chemotherapy knocks you sideways, you know. I mean, when my wife had cancer a few years back, she was having three chemo things a month and it would knock the life out of — literally every time she’d have a treatment, she’d have a seizure. It’s scary stuff. But he came down, plugged in and carried on. He’s my hero, I swear to God he is.”
The BLACK SABBATH guitarist successfully underwent an operation in January 2017 to remove a noncancerous lump from his throat.