The singer, named the first-ever Rolling Stone UK Awards icon in a new cover story, talked about his fourth spinal surgery, aimed at remedying the damage from a 2019 fall that dislodged the metal rods from a previous surgery.
“It’s really knocked me about,” Osbourne said of the procedure. “The second surgery went drastically wrong and virtually left me crippled. I thought I’d be up and running after the second and third, but with the last one they put a fucking rod in my spine. They found a tumor in one of the vertebrae, so they had to dig all that out too. It’s pretty rough, man, and my balance is all fucked up.”
Osbourne was able to make two live performances, one in Birmingham, England, and the other in Los Angeles, in 2022, but each lasted only one or two songs, and he had a stand that he could lean against in case he needed it.
While Osbourne is hopeful he’ll one day return to the stage to give fans an appropriate farewell performance, he realizes medically that might not be possible.
“I’m taking it one day at a time, and if I can perform again, I will,” Osbourne told Rolling Stone UK. “But it’s been like saying farewell to the best relationship of my life. At the start of my illness, when I stopped touring, I was really pissed off with myself, the doctors, and the world. But as time has gone on, I’ve just gone, ‘Well, maybe I’ve just got to accept that fact.’”
He continued, “I’m not going to get up there and do a half-hearted Ozzy looking for sympathy. What’s the fucking point in that? I’m not going up there in a fucking wheelchair. I’ve seen Phil Collins perform recently, and he’s got virtually the same problems as me. He gets up there in a wheelchair! But I couldn’t do that.”
If Osbourne does return to performing live, don’t expect it to come in the form of a full Black Sabbath reunion: While Osbourne praised Tony Iommi’s support amid his health problems and said even former drummer Bill Ward — with whom Ozzy has a long feud — reached out to him, bassist Geezer Butler “hasn’t given me one fucking phone call. Not one fucking call.”
“When his son was fucking born, I phoned him every fucking night even though we were at war with each other, Black Sabbath and me [after his sacking]. I thought, ‘Fuck it, he’s my mate, I’m gonna call him.’ But from him, not one fucking call,” Osbourne said.
“It’s sad, man. We all grew up together, and he can’t pick up the fucking phone like a man and see how I’m doing.”
On social media after Osbourne’s comments spread, Butler claimed that he twice reached out to Ozzy, and both attempts went unanswered: