BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi wished Bill Ward a speedy recovery from the recent surgery the band's estranged drummer underwent after suffering from perforated diverticulitis, a very serious gastrointestinal condition in which the walls of the intestine have become perforated. The procedure was successful, with Ward expected to make a full recovery over the next several weeks.Writes Iommi on his official web site: "Dear Bill, sorry to hear you've been unwell. Hope you make a speedy recovery. Best wishes, Tony." As a result of Ward's surgery, an October 26 reception at the Annapolis Collection Gallery in Maryland — where Ward was scheduled to discuss his fine art debut collection, "Absence Of Corners" — has been postponed.
Ward was originally announced as part of BLACK SABBATH's reunion album and tour in late 2011, but bowed out in early 2012 over a contract dispute. Although Ward never specified what his issues were, the other members of SABBATH — most notably singer Ozzy Osbourne — later hinted that Ward was not physically up to the task of performing live. It was rumored that SABBATH wanted to bring a second drummer on the road to share duties with Ward, which he allegedly balked at. Ward said in one interview that he "would never, ever show up for a commitment that I could not do physically." But Ozzy told the New York Daily News, "I don't think [Ward] could have done the gig, to be honest. He's incredibly overweight. A drummer has to be in shape. He's already had two heart attacks. I don't want to be responsible for his life." In a recent interview with the Phoenix New Times, Iommi stated about Bill's absence from the SABBATH reunion: "We were hoping Bill was going to do it. When we first got together, Bill was involved. It was Bill who pulled the plug, it wasn't us. Bill decided on his own he didn't want to do this, because he didn't like things the way it was. But we still don't know exactly what that was, because Bill won't exactly talk to us about it. He got his lawyers to talk with our lawyers, and it went that way instead of talking to the band personally. It got to be a silly situation. It would have been nice to have had Bill on the album, but it was getting too complicated. It had been after a year of this stuff, and we just had to get on with it." SABBATH used RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE drummer Brad Wilk for the recording of its "13" album, while Tommy Clufetos has been the live drummer.