He recalled first being diagnosed with lymphoma in January 2012, pushing through to record Black Sabbath‘s comeback album with Ozzy Osbourne, 2013’s 13 (their first to top the U.S. album charts), and the grueling tour to support it, which had to be scheduled around his chemo treatments.
He said that when he first broke the news to his bandmates, they were just beginning work on 13, and the band’s frontman responded in a style that was less than sensitive.
“Ozzy came in and said: ‘Oh yeah, didn’t so and so die from that?’” Iommi recalled. “Which is exactly not what you want to hear. I thought: ‘Thanks a lot, Mr Bloody Cheerful.’ But that’s Ozzy all over, he always puts his foot in it.”
However, Osbourne had already seen cancer up close via his wife Sharon, a colon cancer survivor, and that helped him be a bit more supportive to his longtime bandmate.
“Ozzy was actually really helpful,” Iommi said.