Following Months Of Rumors About His Health, Ozzy Osbourne Revealed A Life-Changing Diagnosis

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For years and years, Prince of Darkness Ozzy Osbourne has been the subject of health-related rumors. Many people are interested in his medical condition, considering his history of very public substance abuse. And a lot of them were just that, rumors – but in 2020, the rocker and his family decided to go public with a serious diagnosis the 71-year-old received.

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The aforementioned stories started circulated around during October 2019. That year, Ozzy underwent surgery after a bad fall, and also had to cancel concerts due to pneumonia. Come October, the celebrity gossip website Radar Online claimed that the famous rocker was “living on borrowed time.”

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According to a “pal of the former Black Sabbath frontman” who allegedly spoke to the website, “He’s had a whole host of health woes, and it looks like the ‘Crazy Train’ may have reached the end of the line.” However, Ozzy’s wife Sharon quickly came out to angrily deny the story was true.

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While on The Talk Sharon declared “How cold and callous are those headlines? Where’s people’s empathy? It’s not [true] by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve been open with everyone and so has Ozzy.” She went on, “He had a terrible, terrible bout of bad luck with his health, one thing after another. And then after his fall that he had, it’s been awful for him. But he’s getting better.”

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Ozzy has indeed had a lot of bad luck with his health as an older man. In addition to the pneumonia and the surgery after the fall in 2019, he got a staph infection in October 2018. He contracted the disease simply after getting a small cut on his hand. Which turned into a major and even life-threatening problem.

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Later that month, Ozzy told Rolling Stone magazine he “was cracking jokes” about the staph infection at first, but soon was told by the doctor he had a serious health condition. The rocker said, “I judge it based on the expression and the body language of the doctor. If he comes in with a really solemn face, I go, ‘Oh, okay. My time to go is up.’”

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One of the reasons for the interest in the Prince of Darkness’s current state of health is his drug-heavy past. Ozzy’s antics, both onstage and off, are legendary. Back in 1981, he bit the head off a bird while meeting with record label executives. Apparently, he was too intoxicated to know what he was doing.

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And that bizarre incident was far from the end of it. In February 1982 Ozzy fired all the other members of his band. Then, wearing a dress that belonged to Sharon, he urinated all over an Alamo memorial while drunk. The rocker was, unsurprisingly, arrested and ended up banished from San Antonio for ten years.

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Then, in August 1989, Ozzy was arrested for trying to strangle Sharon in a drug-fueled delirium, right after he’d come back from the Music Peace Festival in Russia. It was an astounding incident that could very well have ended in tragedy. But Sharon didn’t press charges and even stayed married to him.

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Sharon spoke about the incident to British newspaper The Guardian in May 2001. She said, “I called the police, and they locked him up. I didn’t press charges but he went into rehab for three months. He was totally insane from all the drink and drugs he was doing, and well, these things happen.”

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Fortunately, Ozzy managed to improve his condition at the beginning of the Nineties and gradually moved away from substance abuse. He admitted to still taking pills on occasion, but considered 1991’s No More Tears his first sober record. And, come 1997, the singer even reunited with the other members of Black Sabbath.

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Unfortunately, the rock star suffered another life-threatening problem in 2003. This one, though, was the result of an accident rather than substance abuse. In early December he was riding a quad bike around his Buckinghamshire estate when it suddenly hit an obstacle, flipping the vehicle right on top of him.

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Things looked bad. Ozzy broke eight ribs, a vertebra in his neck and his collarbone, which ended up resting on one of his main arteries after the crash. In fact, the rocker stopped breathing in the immediate aftermath of the accident. As a result, he had to be given emergency resuscitation by Sam Ruston, his bodyguard. Then he was hurried to hospital for surgery.

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In February 2004, the Osbourne family spoke about the incident to ABC’s Diane Sawyer. “Absolutely no drugs, absolutely no alcohol. It was just a terrible, a terrible accident,” Ozzy explained. “The last thing I remember, what I do remember is I got on the bike and, something in my mind went, ‘Bad move. There’s something really bad gonna happen.’” But the rocker also then admitted he hadn’t been wearing a helmet.

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Ozzy and Sharon’s daughter Kelly also spoke about the accident during the interview. She said, “I didn’t realize how bad it was. Because he was fully talking to me… And all he kept saying is, ‘I love you. I’m going to be okay.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my God, my dad’s gonna die. And I’m by myself.’ And it was the most horrible thing that’s ever happened to me.”

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The rock star got over the accident, but questions about his health still persisted. For years, Ozzy had suffered painful tremors in his body, and assumed it was a result of his earlier drug use. But instead he was told in by doctors in 2005 that it was actually a genetic condition called Parkin Syndrome.

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At the time, Ozzy spoke to the World Entertainment News Network. He said, “I’d always assumed [the tremors were from] the booze and stuff. Now I’ve found it all stems from the family. It’s called Parkin [Syndrome] but it’s not Parkinson’s. Anything to do with the central nervous system has the word Parkin in it.” Rumors of the rocker having Parkinson’s had spread before, and he’d denied them.

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In 2010 Ozzy looked back on his lifetime of substance abuse, and it made for difficult reading. He told Guitar World magazine, “I used to be under the illusion that alcohol and drugs help you create melodies. I used to think, ‘How the f**k can I write music without smoking a joint or taking a line of coke?’ I made the decision that if I can’t do it sober, then I’m finished.”

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When the interviewer asked Ozzy how he managed to stop, the rocker answered “The first thing I quit was tobacco. I couldn’t do anything without a cigarette, but I’m a singer so that had to go. Then the illegal drugs went, but I was also addicted to prescription drugs for 25 years.”

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Ozzy’s prognosis sounded promising, but in 2013 the rocker announced he had suffered a setback. In April of that year, after living apart from Sharon for almost a month, the Black Sabbath frontman released a revealing statement. It read, “For the last year-and-a-half I have been drinking and taking drugs.” He had been, he added, “in a very dark place.”

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But Ozzy also declared in his statement that he was “44 days sober.” He went on, “Just to set the record straight, Sharon and I are not divorcing. I’m just trying to be a better person. I would like to apologize to Sharon, my family, my friends and my band mates for my insane behavior during this period… And my fans.”

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Such was the curiosity about Ozzy, his drug-taking and his health that in 2010 a group of scientists at a company called Knome Inc. began investigating his genome. They discovered that the reason he had survived so much substance abuse wasn’t necessarily luck. It was, in fact, more likely something to do with his genes.

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In Bill Sullivan’s 2019 book Pleased to Meet Me: Genes, Germs and the Curious Forces that Make Us Who We Are, the Indiana University professor described the British rocker as “indeed a genetic mutant.” And he also noted that addiction had “more to do with our DNA than our moral fiber.”

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But after all that, in 2020, Ozzy made a new revelation about his health. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. This condition affects the brain, causes tremors in the body and a difficulty with movement, among other things. Balance problems and memory issues are also symptoms of Parkinson’s.

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In January 2020, the Osbournes went on Good Morning America and talked to Robin Roberts about what the diagnosis meant for them. Ozzy said, “It’s been terribly challenging for us all. I did my last show New Year’s Eve at The Forum. Then I had a bad fall. I had to have surgery on my neck, which screwed all my nerves.”

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Sharon explained what exactly her husband had, saying “It’s PRKN 2. There’s so many different types of Parkinson’s. It’s not a death sentence by any stretch of the imagination, but it does affect certain nerves in your body. And it’s like, you have a good day, a good day, and then a really bad day.”

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Ozzy himself then explained the rest, referencing his disastrous fall. He said, “I got a numbness down this arm [from] the surgery, my legs keep going cold. I don’t know if that’s the Parkinson’s or what, you know, but that’s – see, that’s the problem. Because [the surgeons] cut nerves when they did the surgery. I’d never heard of nerve pain, and it’s a weird feeling.”

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The rocker explained that he was taking medication and nerve pills for the condition, but had grown tired of remaining quiet about it. As he told Good Morning America, “I’m no good with secrets. I cannot walk around with it anymore ‘cause it’s like I’m running out of excuses, you know?”

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Kelly Osbourne was also present for the interview. She told Good Morning America, “The hardest thing is watching somebody that you love suffer. It’s kind of become a bit of – I think a role reversal for us, where we have to be like, ‘Snap out of it… We have to all admit what’s happening here, so that we can get over this.’ And it took a while for everyone to be on the same page.”

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Regarding Ozzy’s family, the rocker admitted, “When I see my wife going to work, my kids going to work, everybody’s doing – trying to be helpful to me, that gets me down because I can’t contribute to my family. But you know, put it this way, I’m a lot better now than I was last February. I was in a shocking state.”

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Sharon also said in the interview that she and Ozzy planned to go abroad to seek further treatment, something they luckily had the wealth to do. She explained, “We’ve kind of reached a point in [America] where we can’t go any further because we’ve got all the answers we can get here. So in April we’re going to a professional in Switzerland.”

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At the end of the interview Ozzy said, in true rockstar fashion, “I just can’t wait to get well enough to go on the road, that is what is killing me. I need it, that is my drug today. I’ve done all of the other c**p, left that by the wayside, survived that. I ain’t done yet and I ain’t going to go anywhere yet.”

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And it seems that Good Morning America interview met with a hugely positive response. Parkinson’s U.K. chief executive Steve Ford released a statement praising the rocker’s courage. It read, “Ozzy Osbourne bravely speaking about his Parkinson’s diagnosis and his journey to ‘owning it’ will do so much to raise awareness of this much misunderstood condition.”

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The statement went on, “Ozzy is now part of a community of 145,000 people in the U.K. who live with Parkinson’s and urgently need a breakthrough treatment, which we are getting closer to every day. We would encourage people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s to speak to their GP or specialist to explore the best options for treatment and managing their Parkinson’s.”

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In the wake of the news, Professor David Dexter, Parkinson’s U.K. Tissue Bank’s scientific director spoke to The Telegraph newspaper about the condition. He explained to readers that the condition Ozzy had been diagnosed with was hereditary. Which meant that it was embedded in his DNA long before any symptoms started to pose a problem.

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The professor went on, “About 92 per cent of cases of Parkinson’s disease are sporadic – we don’t know the cause. The remaining number are due to genetic mutations, although symptoms and treatment are currently the same. Osbourne’s milder symptoms might have been confused with life-style related concerns; heavy drinking can cause tremors, for example.”

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A few days after the rocker made the announcement about his health, he posted a message on his Facebook account expressing his gratitude for all the support he’d received. He wrote, “Thank you all so much for your well wishes. It means the world to me. All my love, Ozzy.” And Sharon had something to say as well.

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While presenting The View, Sharon said “Just to have all this outpouring of positive reaction from everyone that watches the show, and our friends, it’s heartwarming… People have been amazing with their outpouring of love for my husband, and I thank you. Friends that we haven’t spoken to in years have come out and supported Ozzy, and it makes me feel good.”

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But no matter what, Ozzy has often made it clear how grateful he is to have had such a long life. And that’s even more incredible given he could have died so many times in the past. In fact, in 2019 the rocker told Metal Hammer magazine, “If you’d said to me years ago, ‘How long do you think you’ll last?’ I would’ve said, ‘I’ll be dead by 40!’”

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The legendary rock star went on, “Luck has shadowed me all the way. If you’d read a news story that said, ‘Ozzy Osbourne has been found dead in his hotel room!’ you wouldn’t go, ‘Oh, really?’ would you? You’d say, ‘Well, obviously!’” But now he’s clearly much less blasé about his health.

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