Rock icon Ozzy Osbourne opened up about his health struggles in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, and said he would “die a happy man” if he could perform one more show to express his gratitude to his fans from the stage.
“If I can’t continue doing shows on a regular basis, I just want to be well enough to do one show where I can say, ‘Hi guys, thanks so much for my life.’ That’s what I’m working towards, and if I drop down dead at the end of it, I’ll die a happy man,” he said.
The 74-year-old announced in February that his touring career was over as he is no longer “physically capable (of it)” after suffering several health setbacks. In July, he withdrew from an appearance at a music festival scheduled for October.
Osbourne damaged his spine in a major accident four years ago, has undergone multiple surgeries since, and revealed his Parkinson’s diagnosis in January 2020.
The fall and subsequent surgeries “really knocked me about,” Osbourne said. “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 f**king 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.”
Although Osbourne has performed intermittently during that period, including at the closing ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in his hometown of Birmingham, England, he has been largely absent from the stage.
During his career – which began as a member of groundbreaking heavy metal band Black Sabbath – Osbourne won Grammy Awards for both his solo work and as part of the band, which he left in 1979.
He became famous for his colorful performances as well as his music, especially throughout the 1980s, including when he threw raw meat onto concertgoers, and bit into a dead bat tossed on the stage by a fan (Osbourne had thought it was rubber. It was not).
“I’m taking it one day at a time, and if I can perform again, I will,” he said. “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.’”
Performing as “a half-hearted Ozzy looking for sympathy,” is out of the question, though, the legendary singer said.
“I’ve seen Phil Collins perform recently, and he’s got virtually the same problems as me,” he added. “He gets up there in a wheelchair! But I couldn’t do that.”