Ozzy Osbourne drummer Lee Kerslake Dies at 73

Ozzy Osbourne records his ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ album at Ridge Farm Studio, 1980. From left to right, guitarist Randy Rhoads, drummer Lee Kerslake, Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Bob Daisley.

(Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns/Getty Images)


Lee Kerslake, the drummer for Ozzy Osbourne and Uriah Deep, has passed away at 73 from prostate cancer.

The news was broke Monday by a post from Uriah Deep’s singer Bernie Shaw on the group’s Facebook page.

“Well, where are the words to describe the feelings one has when you lose a friend, colleague, fellow bandmate ( for 20 some odd years!) brother in arms, let alone when it’s someone larger than life like Lee Kerslake?” Shaw said in a post.
“As a person, he was generous to a fault,” Shaw continued. “Always smiling and ready to entertain at the drop of a hat. Many a free drink was had after a show when he would get up and play with a local band at the nearest club we could find, and first up if there was someone with a fishing boat willing to take him out for the day. That was Lee.”
Kerslake was an English born drummer who first started playing professionally in 1969 with the band Gods before joining Uriah Deep in 1972. He then played with the group until 1978 and a few years later a chance meeting in an elevator with Osbourne would propel his career into the stratosphere as the drummer of the now infamous Blizzard of Ozz and  Diary of a Madman.
In 1981 Kerslake left Osbourne’s groups to take care of a family member and through a falling out with Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, and years of legal pursuit, would keep them from reuniting on good terms while he was alive, Ozzy still remembered him fondly.
“It’s been 39 years since I’ve seen Lee but he lives forever on the records he played on for me, Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. Lee Kerslake RIP,” Osbourne tweeted.

Lee “The Bear” Kerslake would rejoin Uriah Deep and remain a member until 2007 where he would take a couple of years to himself before starting a solo project in 2015. In late 2018 he revealed in an interview that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and had only months to live.

“It’s prostate cancer but it’s moved to rest of my body I have now have bone cancer which is nasty one, so the doctor gave me about eight months to live,” he said. But I’ve been fighting all the way. Five years ago they gave me four years to live and so that gives you an idea. Not only have I got bone cancer I’ve got psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and two heart murmurs. As I said to you I’m fighting it and there’s no telling what can happen and they might have a new drug come out and I’ll experiment with it if it keeps me alive.”

After revealing his health problems to the world Kerslake wrote Osbourne to settle their disputes about attribution on his record appearances. Ozzy granted his final wish and Kerslake was granted his platinum certifications and received his platinum plaques.
 

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