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Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi: ‘I Could Be Here Another 10 Years or Just One Year’

Black Sabbath Tony Iommi
Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi opens up about his cancer battle in a candid new interview, admitting he is unsure how much longer he will live, saying it could be anywhere from one year to 10 years.

Speaking to the UK newspaper The Mirror, the metal godfather says he initially thought his cancer diagnosis in January 2012 was a sure death sentence. “When the doctors told me I had cancer I thought, ‘That’s it then.’ Cancer was death as far as I was concerned. I found a painful lump in my groin while I was in New York promoting my book. I thought it was my prostate acting up again, but Ozzy [Osbourne] told me I should get it checked out.”

Iommi found out he had lymphoma, and has been battling the disease ever since. But somehow he managed to record the stellar Black Sabbath album ’13’ and tour in support of the disc. However, he says it was no easy task. “After we released the album we went on tour and played 81 shows in 28 countries. I really enjoyed it, but it was tough. After the illness I got really tired. Every six weeks I had to fly home for treatment … Then I had to be home for two or three weeks recovering before I could join up with the band again. We had to plan the whole tour around my treatment.”

As for his outlook, Iommi has still has a tough road ahead and is unsure how much longer he will live. “Because I had two different operations at the same time, one on my prostate and one on my lymph nodes, I had too many scans last year and too much radiation,” he reveals. “So I can’t have any more scans yet. Every day I feel around for lumps and bumps. Every time I get a pain in my stomach I think, ‘Oh God, it’s cancer.’ It’s horrible. I even dream about it. But that’s my life now. The surgeon told me he doesn’t expect the cancer to go away. There’s a 30 percent chance that it could, but more than likely it will come back and it could be any time. I look at life differently now. I could be here another 10 years or just one year – I don’t know.”

Ozzy Osbourne recently revealed that Black Sabbath would record one final album and embark on one more tour. No matter what happens with the career of the legendary metal band, we hope Tony Iommi is playing his groundbreaking riffs for many years to come.

For much more from Iommi on his cancer battle, read the full interview with The Mirror here.

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