updated 01/10/2012 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/10/2012 AT 9:35 AM ET
It was just two months ago that Black Sabbath announced plans to produce another studio album – their first in 33 years.
But in the midst of recording sessions in Los Angeles, the heavy metal foursome had some serious news for fans this week: Guitar legend Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with lymphoma.
The Iron Man is in the “early stages” of the disease, a cancer of the lymphocytes (white blood cells in the immune system), according to a statement on his website, and the band will continue working on the album (still set to be released in the fall) in England to accommodate Iommi.
The rocker, 63, is “upbeat and determined” to make a full recovery as he works with doctors to establish a treatment plan.
“[Iommi’s] bandmates would like everyone to send positive vibes to the guitarist at this time,” the statement continued.
Black Sabbath, including Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, is set to embark on a reunion tour May 18 featuring the original members, and more information will be released about Iommi’s health as it becomes available, according to the statement.