When BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward turned 72 on Tuesday (May 5),a number of fans took to social media to wish him a happy birthday. To thank his fans for their thoughtfulness, Ward posted the following message on his social media accounts: "Hi everyone, I had a great birthday, even though we're still at home for a while. This year I sat with my wife and ate some oatmeal and drank tea, LOL. I got some great calls from family members, and great texts from close friends and fellow musicians, and a plethora of social media messages wishing me well, thank you.
"What a life, so far, what a great host of friends to be a part of, what a beloved family to embrace, I'm totally blessed, from my youngest grandson up. To my metal head buddies, you know you're just a bunch of crazy MF, and I love you so much, to all my pals I thank you dearly for hanging with me, for everyone who sent their love, I love you too, big thanks, big hugs.
"I hope you all can remain well and in good spirits, I hope you all can feel some hope and love in your lives today.
"Thanks again for giving me a great birthday and for loving me, I loved it, LOL."
Ward was on board for the SABBATH reunion when it was first announced more than eight years ago, but backed out soon after. He later claimed that he sat out the recording and touring sessions because of unfair contractual terms, although the members of SABBATH have hinted in other interviews that he wasn't physically up to the task.
All four original members of SABBATH were present when the band announced its reunion in late 2011. But Ward split from the group in 2012, citing an "unsignable" contract, and singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler carried on with their Rick Rubin–produced "13" LP and extensive international touring without him. The final BLACK SABBATH tour, which concluded in February 2017 in Birmingham, saw the founding member replaced by session drummer Tommy Clufetos.
It was rumored that SABBATH wanted to bring a second drummer on the road to share duties with Ward, something that Iommi confirmed in 2017 during a question-and-answer session about SABBATH's "Ten Year War" box set.
Back in June 2017, Ward told Rolling Stone magazine that he had "gone through a lot of tears" over his split with SABBATH. "I've grieved the loss of three of my best friends," he said. "I've grieved the loss of their company, their words, their laughter, their joy, and above all, their music... I've grieved the loss of the fans, and I've grieved the pain of what all this has created."
But he claimed at the time to have come out the other side. "I can't afford to have resentment," he explained. "I can't afford to be angry. I can't afford these things spiritually or physically. So I knew I had to be rid of them."