Former Black Sabbath keyboardist Geoff Nicholls has passed away after a battle with lung cancer. He was sixty eight years old. The news was broken by Nicholls’ former bandmate Tony Iommi, who had worked with the musician from 1979 to 1996. Iommi posted a message online which reads as follows:
“I’m so saddened to hear of the loss of one of my dearest and closest friends Geoff Nicholls. He’s been suffering for a while now with lung cancer.
“Geoff and I have always been very close and he has been a real true friend to me and supported me all the way for nearly 40 years. I will miss him dearly and he will live in my heart until we meet again. Rest in peace my dear friend.”
Another tribute was posted by former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin, whom Nicholls had continued to work with in the band, Headless Cross. Martin stated:
“He was resigned to his deteriorating health and wished me well. That was the last I spoke to him. I can’t tell you how much I am saddened by his passing – even though we knew of his diagnosis. He will be very missed. I will always regard him as my writing partner and advisor and all round friend and confidante. Rock on, mate. Miss you already.”
Nicholls joined Black Sabbath after leaving the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal band Quartz in 1979, initially as a second guitarist, though he also handled bass duties on occasion before becoming the group’s keyboard player. He was rarely seen on stage with the other members, performing instead behind the curtain and performed on every Black Sabbath album from “Heaven And Hell” to “Forbidden,” after which his place in the band was ousted by Ozzy Osbourne keyboardist Adam Wakeman for the reunion tours in 2004 and 2005.