Photo credits to Steve Johnston

Bernie Tormé, ex-Ozzy Osbourne guitarist dies at aged 66

News 19/03/2019

Irish-born guitarist, Bernie Tormé has recently passed away at the age of 66. 

The former Ozzy Osbourne bandmate was battling double pneumonia and was later put on a ventilator.

One day short of his 67th birthday, the news broke on Twitter. "What a sad day," wrote Ozzy Osbourne. "We've lost another great musician. Bernie was a gentle soul with a heart of gold. He will be dearly missed."

Tormé's bandmate, drummer Mik Gaffney wrote on Facebook, "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... 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..."

Tormé started his career by performing in clubs around Dublin and London when he was just a teen. In 1979, he became the guitarist for the band Gillan, fronted by Deep Purple's vocalist, Ian Gillan. After four Tormé-era albums with the band charted in the Top 20, he left in 1981 over compensation disputes.

A year later, the guitarist then joined Ozzy Osbourne's band, just after Randy Rhoads' death. “I was out there on the Thursday, and Randy had died the previous Saturday," he told UCR in 2017. "It wasn’t even a week. I don’t think anyone spoke to me the day I arrived, other than [keyboardist] Don Airey. It was a really bad atmosphere, and understandably so."

“Even if I played okay, even if I played a nice solo or whatever, if anyone looked at me onstage they thought, ‘Oh, shit. It isn’t Randy,'" he recalled.

Just after a couple of shows, Tormé left the band and focused on solo projects, releasing four crowdfunded solo albums between 2014-2018.