Black Sabbath guitarist Iommi diagnosed with cancer

Mon Jan 9, 2012 11:57am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma, according to a statement on his website on Monday.

The British heavy metal group's original lineup is writing and recording its first album in 33 years, and the band members will move from Los Angeles to London in order to work with Iommi while he undergoes treatment.

"His bandmates would like everyone to send positive vibes to the guitarist at this time," the statement read, adding that the new album was still scheduled for release in the autumn.

"Iommi is currently working with his doctors to establish the best treatment plan -- the 'Iron Man' of Rock & Roll remains upbeat and determined to make a full and successful recovery."

Iommi, 63, is a founding member of Black Sabbath, one of the most successful hard rock acts in history who have sold an estimated 70 million records worldwide.

The veterans announced in November that they were reuniting in their original four man line-up, including Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, for their first new album in more than three decades and a 2012 world tour.

The quartet released their last studio album of all original material in 1978 with "Never Say Die."

Osbourne was fired from the band in 1979, leading to changing lineups for several years. The original foursome reunited for a 1998 release and played sporadically together in the early 2000s.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)