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Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi -- who was diagnosed with cancer nearly a year ago -- posted a year-end message on his official website this week, writing, "What a year! Certainly not the one I was expecting. Thanks to you all for your massive help and support; it was very encouraging. I'm still working on the (new Sabbath studio) album and managed to play three shows. Not bad given the news a year ago."

The metal guitar legend added, "I'm looking forward to next year, seeing what you think of the record and touring as much as we're able. My best wishes to you all."

Iommi told us a while back that he intends to keep playing music as long as he can: "I've always believed in what I do and I always ... the music for me has been a major part of my life. It's lovely just to be able to keep on doing it just to upset people. As long as I can do it, I'll do it -- and as long as I enjoy it. You've got to keep fit to do it at my age, so I'll have a go (at it)."

The 64-year-old guitarist underwent chemotherapy treatment earlier in the year after being diagnosed with lymphoma at the end of 2011.

His illness forced Sabbath, which reunited in November 2011 for a new studio album and world tour, to curtail its live plans. The band performed this year at the U.K.'s Download festival, Chicago's Lollapalooza event and a surprise club show in their hometown of Birmingham, England.

Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and singer Ozzy Osbourne have been writing and recording their first studio album since 1978 throughout most of this year, both in London and Los Angeles. Founding drummer Bill Ward dropped out of the reunion early over contractual disputes.

The yet-to-be-titled album is tentatively due out in April 2013 and will feature 15 new songs.

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