Ozzy Osbourne reveals he suffered staph infection: “I could have been dead”

The metal legend was forced to postpone four October shows until July 2019

Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne, photo by David Brendan Hall

Ozzy Osbourne has opened up about the infection and subsequent hand surgery that forced him to postpone the last four shows of his fall North American tour. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the metal legend reveals that it was a staph infection that could have killed him had it not been treated properly.

As previously reported, Osbourne initially postponed a few recent shows until later dates in October when it was revealed that he had to undergo surgery to treat an unspecified infection. Shortly thereafter, he ended up canceling the October shows, saying he would make them up in 2019, when it was announced that he had to undergo more surgery for additional infections.

Now, in his conversation with Rolling Stone, Ozzy has divulged that it was a potentially deadly staph infection he was suffering from, and that his right thumb had swollen to “the size of a fuckin’ lightbulb.” He first noticed there was a problem after a gig in Salt Lake City, whereby his wife Sharon had him rushed to an emergency room.

“I didn’t feel sick, so I was cracking jokes,” he says of his ER visit. “The doctor said, ‘I don’t know if you realize, Mr. Osbourne, this is a very serious problem you have.’ Sharon said, ‘Would you stop fucking making jokes?’ So I said, ‘Well, it’s my hand.’ They’re all extremely, deadly serious about it.”

It turned out Ozzy had three staph infections in his hand, with one spreading to his middle finger. As for the surgery, the Ozzy explained, “They cut all this stuff out. Even with the numbing stuff, it was agony. It wasn’t pus, but it was the stage after pus, when it gets in the blood and goes in your body and fucking kills you.”

Ozzy thinks he may have contracted the infection during one of his meet-and-greet sessions, when he shakes hands with about 200 fans per night. The Prince of Darkness reports that he’s back home resting  and “about 85 to 90 percent better” now, but has been severely hampered by his bandaged hand. “I haven’t been able to do anything,” he added. “I’m right-handed. You can’t wipe your own ass. And I didn’t have many fucking volunteers who would do it for me.”

And he realizes now that he’s lucky his hand got treated when it did. “It could have been a lot worse,” he admitted. “I could have been dead.”

The four October shows that Ozzy postponed — three in California and one in Las Vegas — will now take place in July 2019. Prior to his medical emergency, Ozzy and his band were on top of their game, as evidenced by the show we witnessed at Jones Beach in Long Island, New York.

Ozzy’s “No More Tours 2” trek, which will pick up again on January 30 with a European leg, is being billed as his last-ever extensive tour.