The Birmingham Mail reports that the heavy metal guitar legend revealed the news during the unveiling of a plaque at the United Kingdom’s Spire Specialist Care Centre, where he has been receiving treatment. Iommi officially unveiled the award, the Macmillian Quality Environment Mark, which the center received in acknowledgement of its high standard of patient care.
Iommi praised the center’s “warm and welcoming environment” and called the staff “friendly and helpful.”
“I can’t thank them enough for what they have done for me and others like me,” he said.
Iommi also noted that he would need to remain vigilant for the rest of his life about the cancer’s possible return by having blood tests every six weeks, along with regular checkups. “But the availability of a facility like the Specialist Care Centre makes it so much easier. They’re all lovely here!”
The guitarist revealed in January 2012 that he was diagnosed as being in the early stages of lymphoma, just a few months after Black Sabbath announced it was writing and recording a new album. That effort, 13, was the first in more than 30 years with the classic lineup of Iommi, singer Ozzy Osbourne, drummer Bill Ward and bassist Geezer Butler. The Rick Rubin-produced set debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 1 with 155,000 sold (according to Nielsen Music), marking the group’s only No. 1 album.
Black Sabbath reportedly had to withdraw as a headliner for the 2012 Coachella Valley and Arts Festival due to Iommi’s diagnosis and returned to the road in earnest in 2013-2014, arranging the dates on the world tour to allow for Iommi to receive cancer treatments. (Ward wound up sitting out both the album and the tour due to a contact dispute.)
The band is currently on its farewell tour, which it announced in September 2015. Their last U.S. show is set for Nov. 12 in San Antonio, with the very last performances ever slated for Feb. 2 and 4, 2017, in Sabbath’s hometown at the Birmingham Genting Arena in England. (Ward has not rejoined the band for this tour, either.)