OZZY OSBOURNE will leave his post as the headliner of his annual Ozzfest for three weeks to be with his wife Sharon as she battles cancer, according to MTV.com.
Osbourne plans to leave the tour after Sunday's show in Atlanta to join his wife as she begins chemotherapy treatment. He hopes to return for the tour's August 22nd stop in Denver.
"This is one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make in my life, but I'm sure that everyone out there will understand," Ozzy told an MTV film crew on Thursday.
"I'm putting on a brave face here, guys, but I'm burning up inside. I have to go home," he added.
During Ozzy's leave from the tour, co-headliner SYSTEM OF A DOWN will assume the top spot on a main-stage lineup that also includes ROB ZOMBIE, P.O.D., DROWNING POOL, ADEMA and Zakk Wylde's BLACK LABEL SOCIETY.
"The Ozzfest is my baby, and no one is going to take my baby away from me," Ozzy said. "Keep Ozzfest going. We're going to get over this hurdle. We've gotten over worse before. Stick it out with me. I need you now more than ever."
Ozzy thanked the bands and crew that will carry on without him during his leave of absence, and thanked fans for understanding his decision. "I'm sure my fans will understand. Anyone in this position would do the same thing," he said. "I relish seeing you people. You're my life, you're my air, you're my breath, you're everything to me."
The affected Ozzfest dates are as follows:
Aug. 03 - Columbus, OH @ Polaris Amph.
Aug. 04 - Cleveland, OH @ Blossom Music Center
Aug. 07 - Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Center
Aug. 08 - Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Center
Aug. 10 - Chicago, IL @ Tweeter Center
Aug. 11 - East Troy, WI @ Alpine Valley
Aug. 13 - Indianapolis, IN @ Verizon Amph
Aug. 17 - Somerset, WI @ Float-Rite Park
Aug. 19 - St. Louis, MO @ Riverport Amph.
Aug. 20 - Kansas City, MO @ Sandstone Amph.