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Ozzy Osbourne announces retirement, says he's no longer able to perform

By Sarah May
|
February 2, 2023

Hard rock legend Ozzy Osbourne announced this week that he has officially retired from touring and has been forced to cancel an upcoming slate of scheduled – and previously postponed – shows due to health problems and mobility issues that have worsened over the past few years, as the Daily Mail reports.

The Black Sabbath hitmaker, 74, suffers from Parkinson's disease and is also struggling to recover from a spinal operation he underwent last summer in order to prevent almost certain paralysis.

Osbourne breaks news to fans

Fans of the heavy metal singer and songwriter learned of Osbourne's difficult decision in an Instagram post Wednesday, in which he expressed the tremendous sense of regret he has for “disappointing” those who have supported him for so long.

“This is probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to share with my loyal fans,” Osbourne began, adding, “[a]s you may all know, four years ago, this month, I had a major accident, where I damaged my spine.”

Though he emphasized his intense desire to return to the stage, Osbourne continued, “However, after three operations, stem cell treatments, endless physical therapy sessions, and most recently groundbreaking Cybernics (HAL) Treatment, my body is still physically weak.”

As a result, Osbourne declared, “I have now come to the realization that I'm not physically capable of doing my upcoming European/UK tour dates, as I know I couldn't deal with the travel required.”

Regret mixed with gratitude

Seemingly distraught over having to make the unfortunate call about future performance dates, Osbourne noted, “Believe me when I say that the thought of disappointing my fans really F***S ME UP, more than you will ever know.”

“Never would I have imagined that my touring days would have ended this way,” he added, though he offered fans a bit of hope by suggesting that his team is in the process of developing “ideas for where I will be able to perform without having to travel from city to city and country to country.”

The self-styled “Prince of Darkness” also took the opportunity to thank a host of individuals for his lengthy and massively successful career that included his family, his band, “longtime friends, Judas Priest,” and the legions of fans he said provided him with “the life I never ever dreamed I would have.”

Though it is likely cold comfort to fans who were hoping for a chance to see the celebrated music icon in person, Osbourne's message noted that ticket refunds could be had at their point of purchase.

Mounting health woes

Osbourne's ongoing health challenges made their way into the headlines again over the summer when his wife, Sharon Osbourne, referenced on her British talk show that the aging rock star was about to undergo what she called a “very major operation” that would “determine the rest of [Ozzy's] life,” as ABC News noted at the time.

While Mrs. Osbourne did not go into further details of the procedure, it soon became clear that the surgery at issue was meant to alleviate ongoing issues stemming from the 2019 fall referenced in his Wednesday message to fans, an incident which aggravated prior spinal injuries suffered in an ATV accident back in 2003.

In a December radio interview, Ozzy Osbourne detailed the toll the summer surgery was continuing to take on his life and explained that the recovery process had been far from easy.

“It is so f***ing tough because, I mean, I want to be out there. I want to be doing it. This f***ing surgery this guy did. F***ing hell, you have no idea,” Osbourne began. “The thing is my head is all right, my creativity is OK, my singing is OK but I just can't f***ing walk much now.”

Time of transition

The end of his days as a touring musician is not the only major recent change in Ozzy Osbourne's life, as he and Sharon decided last year that they would pull up stakes from the southern California mansion they have called home for years and move back to their native England, as the New York Post reported in August.

Speaking to the U.K. Guardian, Ozzy said of the current state of affairs in America, “Everything's f***ing ridiculous there. I'm fed up with people getting killed every day. God knows how many people have been shot in school shootings.”

Sharon Osbourne was somewhat more diplomatic in her explanation for the move, saying, “It's just time. America has changed so drastically. It isn't the United States of America at all. Nothing's united about it. It's a very weird place to live right now.”

With the family's 120-year-old historic estate in Buckinghamshire awaiting his return, it seems likely that Ozzy Osbourne will have all of the space, comfort, and time he needs to continue the healing process and – as he clearly intends – make more music for his millions of fans around the world.