After images of drummer Bill Ward were removed from vintage and classic Black Sabbath photos posted in a background layout and a gallery on the band's updated website caused a media frenzy, the band has issued a short statement via their publicist about the creative cropping and skilled photo editing. Turns out they were acting on a request from Ward via his lawyer.

Obviously, Ward will not be playing with Sabbath on their upcoming tour dates, something that he has been vocal about in the press, after posting a lengthy and incredibly detailed open letter to fans about his motives and this matter.

Sabbath, for their part, have remained somewhat mum on the matter.

Below is Sabbath's statement explaining why Ward's images have been removed. It's nothing personal. It's just business and Ward's image has been removed so as not to give the impression that he would be participating in the upcoming shows. It sounds as though this is a temporary move regarding the tour dates and he will be restored to the photos after the gigs.

"At the request of Bill Ward, through his attorney, so as to not give the public the wrong impression about his involvement in the current Black Sabbath lineup, we have temporarily removed Bill Ward's images from the main pages of the blacksabbath.com official website. In accordance with Bill Ward's attorney's request, we are doing so for the duration of the forthcoming shows."