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Black Sabbath Guitarist Tony Iommi Diagnosed With Lymphoma

Band still working on album of new material

January 9, 2012 10:45 AM ET

Black Sabbath
Bill Ward, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath appear at a press conference to announce their first new album in 33 years and a world tour in 2012
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony  Iommi has been diagnosed with the "early stages of lymphoma," according to a statement sent out by the band's publicist. "His bandmates would like everyone to send positive vibes to the guitarist at this time," the statement says. "Iommi is currently working with doctors to establish the best treatment plan. The 'Iron Man' of Rock and Roll remains upbeat and determined to make a full and successful recovery."

Two months ago the original lineup of Black Sabbath announced plans to record their first album of new material since 1978's Never Say Die! with producer Rick Rubin. They had been working in Los Angeles, but Iommi's diagnosis has caused them to move recording over to England. 

Black Sabbath are also scheduled to kick off a world tour May 18th in Moscow. It's unclear whether or not Iommi's treatment will have any impact on these plans. The group hasn't toured since 2005, though the Ronnie James Dio-led lineup of Black Sabbath toured extensively from 2007 until Dio's death from stomach cancer in 2010. 

Iommi published his biography Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath last year. 

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