English vocalist Ozzy Osbourne is mourning the loss of his veteran guitarist, Bernie Torme, who died in the United Kingdom, on March 17.
Osbourne had worked with Irish-born Torme in the band since 1982, when he replaced Randy Rhoads, the singer’s key co-writer on his first two solo albums who died in a freak plane crash earlier that year.
“What a sad day, we’ve lost another great musician,” Osbourne said in a Facebook post dated March 18. “Bernie was a gentle soul with a heart of gold, he will be dearly missed.”
Osbourne sent his condolences to Torme’s loved ones, including his family, friends, and fans.
“Rest in Peace Bernie,” he said.
Osbourne initially did not expect to work with Torme as it was originally planned for Robert Sarzo to replace Rhoads. Despite this, Osbourne still honored the record company’s choice as Torme for the guitarist role.
However, it became clear Torme’s blues style was not the best fit for Osbourne’s heavy metal music, so he was replaced by Brad Gillis after a few weeks of joining the band.
Despite this, Torme is best known for his brief stint with Osbourne, who credited Torme for giving him the inspiration and strength to continue performing.
Throughout the years, Torme performed with Atomic Rooster, GMT, and Desperado with former Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider. He also completed The Final Fling tour to support the “Shadowland” album in December 2018.
Torme’s family confirmed he passed away in London one day before his birthday surrounded by loved ones.
“Bernie Torme passed away peacefully on the 17th March 17, 2019, one day short of his 67th birthday, surrounded by his family,” the family said in a statement published by Fox News.
Torme had previously been admitted to hospital for a month due to complications.
“He had been on life support for the past four weeks at a London hospital following post-flu complications,” the family said.
Loved ones and fans will remember him for his life-long passion for music.
“Bernie will be remembered for dedicating his life to his music for five decades,” the family said. “He will be sorely missed.”
The family also thanked everyone who had supported Torme while he was ill in hospital.
“On behalf of Bernie: Thank you to everybody for your overwhelming support and continued kind thoughts,” they said in a Twitter post dated March 3.
On behalf of Bernie: Thank you to everybody for your overwhelming support and continued kind thoughts. We all have to be patient, he is receiving the best possible medical care. Keep those good wishes coming.
— Bernie Tormé (@Bernie_Torme) March 3, 2019
Osbourne, 70, himself was admitted to hospital back on Feb. 7 due to complications caused by the flu. His condition was so serious he had to postpone the United Kingdom and European leg of his No More Tours 2 tour due to the doctors’ orders.
Osbourne earlier had to cancel several shows on his North American tour in 2018 because of a hand infection.
At the time, his wife Sharon Osbourne said in a Twitter post dated Feb. 6 the doctors believe “this is the best way to get him on a quicker road to recovery.”
As some of you may have heard, Ozzy was admitted to hospital following some complications from the flu. His doctors feel this is the best way to get him on a quicker road to recovery. Thanks to everyone for their concern and love.
— Sharon Osbourne (@MrsSOsbourne) Feb. 6, 2019
Sharon later expressed her disbelief that Torme had died and expressed her condolences to his family.
“I cannot believe that Bernie Torme has passed,” she said in a Twitter post on March 17.
She vowed to remember Torme’s support for her and Ozzy when they were enduring difficult times.
“Bernie helped out Ozzy and I at a time of great need and we will never ever forget that,” she said. “Love and condolences to his family.”
I cannot believe that Bernie Torme has passed. Bernie helped out Ozzy and I at a time of great need and we will never ever forget that. Love and condolences to his family.
— Sharon Osbourne (@MrsSOsbourne) March 18, 2019
When Torme was previously admitted to intensive care with virulent pneumonia, he accused the struggling direct-to-fan marketplace PledgeMusic of owing him about $21,227 (16,000 British pounds), “which was due last December on completion of his recent ‘Shadowland’ Pledgemusic campaign.”
Torme claimed he had “paid for all for all recordings, merchandise, CDs and all postage costs to honour his fans’ pledges out of his own pocket.” He was also “unable to pay his musicians, drummer Mik Gaffney and bass player Simon Morton for their work on the album.”
It is unclear whether Torme ever received the money or ever paid the musicians before passing away.