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Uriah Heep, Ozzy Osbourne drummer Lee Kerslake dies at 73

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Fin Costello/Redferns

Uriah Heep and Ozzy Osbourne drummer Lee Kerslake died Saturday at age 73 after a long illness with prostate cancer.

Kerslake’s former Uriah Heep bandmate Ken Hensley confirmed the news in a statement obtained by Louder.

“It’s with the heaviest of hearts that I share with you that Lee Kerslake, my friend of 55 years and the best drummer I ever played with, lost his battle with cancer at 03:30 this morning,” Hensley said. “He died peacefully, praise The Lord, but he will be terribly missed.

“I know many of you were praying for him not to suffer and I thank you for that and, now that Lee is at peace, our thoughts and prayers should turn to his wife Sue who will need all the support she can get at this time,” Hensley added.

Uriah Heep guitarist Mick Box wrote on Facebook, “Lee was one of the kindest men on earth, as well as being a brother he was an incredible drummer, singer and song writer! He had a passion for life bar none and was much loved by the fans, as well as anyone who crossed his path!”

Kerslake joined Uriah Heep in late 1971, appearing on nine of the metal band’s studio albums from 1972 to 1978. He rejoined the band from 1982 to 2007.

In between his stints with Uriah Heep, Keslake drummed for Ozzy Osbourne on 1980’s Blizzard of Ozz, which celebrated its 40th anniversary on Sunday, and 1981’s Diary of a Madman.

“It’s been 39 years since I’ve seen Lee but he lives for ever on the records he played on for me, Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman,” Ozzy tweeted Saturday. “Lee Kerslake RIP.”

Kerslake had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014.

By Andrea Tuccillo
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