Bernie Tormé, Former Ozzy Osbourne Guitarist, Dead at 66

(Image credit: Future)

Bernie Tormé, former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and Gillan, has died at the age of 66. Tormé had been on life support for the past four weeks, according to his family. The guitarist's death was confirmed in a post on his Facebook page.

Born in Dublin, Tormé first made his mark in London in the mid-Seventies with the Bernie Tormé Band. In 1979 however, he joined then-former Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan's band, Gillan. His tenure with the group lasted two years. 

Following the death of Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads in a plane crash in 1982, Tormé was recruited to take Rhoads' place in Osbourne's band.

Osbourne once told Total Guitar that if it wasn’t for Tormé, he “might never have got back on a stage."

In recent years, Tormé toured and recorded under his own name. His final album, Shadowland, was released last year. 

“Bernie Tormé passed away peacefully on the 17th March 2019, one day short of his 67th birthday, surrounded by his family," the guitarist's family said in a statement. "He had been on life support for the past four weeks at a London hospital following post-flu complications.

“Bernie will be remembered for dedicating his life to his music for five decades. He will be sorely missed.”

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.