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Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has cancer

By Ed Payne, CNN
updated 5:00 AM EST, Wed January 11, 2012
Tony Iommi poses with the best album award at The Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in 2010.
Tony Iommi poses with the best album award at The Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Guitarist Tony Iommi is in early stage of lymphoma, statement says
  • Four original member of Black Sabbath said they were recording a new album
  • Former band member Ronnie James Dio died of stomach cancer eight months ago

(CNN) -- Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with cancer, a statement from the English heavy metal band said.

In the early stages of lymphoma, "Iommi is currently working with his doctors to establish the best treatment plan," according to a statement released Monday. "The 'IRON MAN' of Rock & Roll remains upbeat and determined to make a full and successful recovery."

In November, the four original members of Sabbath -- Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward -- announced they were recording a new album with producer Rick Rubin in Los Angeles and would tour in the fall. The last album they recorded together was 1978's "Never Say Die!"

The band said it will now travel to the United Kingdom to continue to work with Iommi.

"His bandmates would like everyone to send positive vibes to the guitarist at this time" the statement said.

Word of his lymphoma comes eight months after former Sabbath member Ronnie James Dio died of stomach cancer May 16.

Dio, 67, followed Osbourne as Black Sabbath's lead vocalist in 1979 after he left the band to start a solo career.

The classic rockers were inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame in 2006.

"Black Sabbath has been so influential in the development of heavy metal rock music as to be a defining force in the style," the band's biography in AllMusic.com says.

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