Ozzy Osbourne and Gillan guitarist Bernie Tormé has died

"Bernie was a gentle soul with a heart of gold"

Former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Bernie Tormé has passed away at the age of 66.

The veteran musician died following severe complications from the flu on Sunday (March 17), according to a statement from his family.

“Bernie Tormé passed away peacefully on the 17th March 2019, one day short of his 67th birthday, surrounded by his family,” the statement read.

“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 was perhaps best known for joining former Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan in his solo band, Gillan, in 1979.

Appearing on three of the band’s studio albums – ‘Mr. Universe’, ‘Glory Road’, and ‘Future Shock’ — plus the live half of ‘Double Trouble’. He left the band in 1981, and was replaced by Janick Gers, who would later join Iron Maiden.

Hired in 1982 to replace the late Randy Rhoads in Ozzy Osbourne’s band, Tormé lasted just a few shows after it was determined that his bluesy style wasn’t a great fit for the band. He was replaced by Brad Gillis.

Tormé continued to make music after his brief stint with Osbourne, briefly becoming a member of Atomic Rooster in 1983 and joining Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider’s band Desperado in the late ’80s.

Remaining active up until his death, the guitarist released several solo albums under his own name, including his most recent disc, ‘Shadowland’, released in November 2018.

Shadowland

Shadowland, an album by Bernie Torme on Spotify

Tributes have begun to pour in for the late musician, one of which came from Ozzy Osbourne.

“What a sad day. We’ve lost another great musician,” Osbourne said via Twitter. “Bernie was a gentle soul with a heart of gold. He will be dearly missed. I send my sincere condolences to his family, friends and fans. Rest in Peace Bernie.”

Ginger Wildheart said of Tormé: “A true original. I’m proud that I got to call you a friend,” while Black Label Society‘s Zakk Wylde simply wrote: GOD BLESS BERNIE TORME 1952 – 2019 tBLSt SDMF.”

Dee Snider tweeted: “Woke up to find out my friend Bernie Tormé has died. He was a guitar god who played with Ozzy Osbourne & Ian Gillan.” Continuing his heartfelt message, he added: “We worked together for 3 years, writing over 100 songs for the ill-fated Desperado. I loved that man & today my heart is broken. RIP Bernie. Your guitar weeps.”