Former Ozzy Osbourne Guitarist Bernie Tormé Dies At 66

Bernie Tormé, who saved Ozzy Osbourne's career in the early-'80s, has died at age 66, just a few days short of his birthday.

The Irish-born guitarist Tormé passed away Sunday, according to a post on his Facebook page that was later confirmed by his drummer, Mik Gafney.

Tormé was hospitalized in February with virulent double pneumonia. A post on his official Twitter account at the time asked fans for their prayers.

"I am absolutely numb," Gaffney wrote in a post Monday morning. "Got the news this morning that Bernie Tormé has died. It's been a thrill playing drums for him for the past couple of years. He was loud, passionate, didn't suffer fools but he was always a true gentleman."

Tormé came up in clubs in Dublin and London in the '70s. His first big break was when he was hired for Deep Purple front man Ian Gillian's solo band in 1979. Tormé was part of the most successful version of Gillians' band, releasing four albums with the singer through 1981.

In 1982, less than a week after Randy Rhoads's tragic plane crash death, Tormé was brought into Ozzy's band to help complete the "Diary of a Madman" tour. Though Tormé parted ways with Ozzy following the emotional tour, Ozzy says said the guitarist was crucial to keeping him going in spite of his band's grief following Rhoads' death.

"If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be doing it now. I'd have given up," Ozzy said after reuniting with Tormé at a festival last summer.

Ozzy and Sharon sent their "positive vibes and love" to Tormé on Valentine's Day, following the news that Tormé was in the hospital. Ozzy himself, was also in the hospital at the time, due to concerns he would develop pneumonia.

Tormé released four solo albums in the last five years, the most recent one being 2018's crowdfunded effort, Shadowland.

Tormé's last performance was December 1, 2018.

Photo: Getty Images

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