BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi spoke to Ultimate Classic Rock about his recent revelation that his cancer is finally in remission. Iommi broke the news to the Birmingham Mail while helping to unveil a plaque at the hospital where he had been receiving treatment for his illness.
Asked what was it like to get the news that he was cancer-free, Iommi told Ultimate Classic Rock: "Well, it was really interesting how I got the news. I only got it because I was presenting the hospital [where I received treatment] with an award, and [a writer] who I was doing an interview with asked me if I was in remission. I turned to my doctor and asked, 'Am I in remission?' The doctor said, 'Yes.' And that's how I got to know."
Iommi added that he wasn't necessarily expecting that kind of news. "I'm always feeling around for lumps and bumps, and so I'm never comfortable," he explained. "I had a friend that went into remission and she planned a big party, and then the cancer came back. You just never know. It's just one of those things. I certainly didn't expect it to come out that I was in remission because, well, I don't know."
Iommi was diagnosed with cancer 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.
Iommi told the Birmingham Mail: "I am in remission and hopefully, this situation will continue. The chemotherapy and the follow-up treatment appear to have done the trick — but I'm aware that it could come back one day. I have a blood test every six weeks (and) I come in here at regular intervals for check-ups. That's something that I'll have to live with for the rest of my life, looking for any warning signs that it might be rearing its ugly head again."
Iommi added that the specialist care center at Spire Parkway Hospital — where he unveiled the plaque — was a "vital resource" for cancer patients in England's Midlands region, saying, "I can't thank them enough for what they have done for me, and others like me."
SABBATH singer Ozzy Osbourne told The Pulse Of Radio around the release of "13" that Iommi never let his condition slow him down. "My hat goes off to him 'cause he really is Iron Man," he said. "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."
BLACK SABBATH will bring its storied career to a close in its native England, with seven shows booked there in January and February. The last two, on February 2 and February 4, will take place in SABBATH's hometown of Birmingham and will likely be their final shows.
Iommi told Ultimate Classic Rock that, once the idea of the final tour came together, he didn't immediately know the band's last show would be at home in Birmingham. "We thought it would be nice if we could end there because that's where we started, but it just worked out," he said. "It's really peculiar to think that we are going to stop at all. For me, I love the playing, I love being with the guys onstage, but it's all the other stuff I don't like — the traveling, being away from home for such a long time."