Former Ozzy Osbourne Guitarist Bernie Tormé Dies at 66

Bernie Torme
Kevin Nixon/Metal Hammer Magazine/Team Rock via Getty Images

Bernie Torme performs on Dec. 3, 2009. 

Hard rock guitarist Bernie Tormé, best known for his short stint in Ozzy Osbourne's band in the early 1980s, died on Sunday (March 17) at age 66.

The Irish guitarist's official website confirmed the news of his passing and his family issued a statement on Monday (March 18), which read, "Bernie Tormé passed away peacefully on the 17th March 2019, one day short of his 67th birthday, surrounded by his family. He had been on life support for the past four weeks at a London hospital following post-flu complications. Bernie will be remembered for dedicating his life to his music for five decades. He will be sorely missed."

Tormé's death was also confirmed by his drummer, Mike Gaffney, who wrote, "I am absolutely numb. Got the news this morning that Bernie Torme 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. He produced one of my old band's demos back in the '80's, and told me off for using a china cymbal ('Not very rock n roll you' he said) but I used it anyway... I will miss our arguments about Irish whiskey vs Scottish whisky, I will miss him calling me a c**t, I will miss seeing that sparkle in his eye when he strapped his guitar on... RIP Bernie. We we all miss you..."

According to reports and accounts on his official FB page, Tormé was hospitalized in February suffering from double pneumonia. Born on March 18, 1952 in Dublin, Ireland, Tormé came to prominence in the mid-1970s when he played in a series of bands that lead to a gig as the lead guitarist in Gillan, the hard-rocking group fronted by former Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan. His three-year stint ended in 1981, after which he briefly joined Osbourne's solo band for a handful of live dates as the replacement for Randy Rhoades, following Rhoades death in a plane crash in 1982. While that gig was short-lived, Tormé continued to write, record and tour with bands that performed under his name, including Tormé and Electric Gypsies. Osbourne and wife/manager Sharon sent their best wishes to Tormé last month upon hearing of his illness.

Tormé briefly teamed up with Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider in the group Desperado, whose only album was never offically released, and then formed the supergroup Guy McCoy Tormé in 2006 with former Gillan bassist John McCoy and drummer Robin Guy.

Tormé released the double album Shadowland in November, which featured former Gillan keyboardist Colin Towns. 

Snider paid tribute to his former bandmate in a pair of tweets on Monday.