Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi battles cancer

No sooner had the original members of Black Sabbath -- singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward and bassist Geezer Butler -- announced that they were regrouping to record their first all-new album in 34 years than those plans were completely upended when Iommi was diagnosed with cancer in January. A 2012 world tour was scrapped, although two festival dates -- England's Download Festival in June and Chicago's Lollapalooza event in August -- were eventually scheduled.

To complicate matters, Ward announced a month later that he could not participate in either the album or any potential tour unless certain contractual issues -- namely money -- were ironed out. Ward did not join the band in England, where it had moved the recording sessions so that Iommi could be close to his doctor. The group ended up calling his bluff, hiring Tommy Clufetos from Ozzy's solo touring band to play drums on both the album and for the live shows.

Iommi's cancer treatments were deemed successful and the band returned to Los Angeles to continue work on the album, with an April release date set.

Sabbath will tour Australia that month and headline the first-ever Japanese Ozzfest in May, assuming that Iommi's health holds up.

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