Lee Kerslake, Original Ozzy Osbourne Drummer, Dead At 73
By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta
September 21, 2020
Renowned rock drummer Lee Kerslake has died at age 73.
Uriah Heep singer Ken Hensley announced Kerslake's passing over the weekend via social media.
"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 wrote. "He died peacefully, praise The Lord, but he will be terribly missed."
Uriah Heep guitarist Mick Box added that "Lee was one of the kindest me on Earth. As well as being a brother, he was an incredible drummer, singer and songwriter! He had a passion for life bar none and was much loved by the fans, as well as anyone who crossed his path!"
Kerslake announced in December of 2018 that his doctors had given him about 8 months to live, but he was optimistic about his treatment and determined to get the most out of whatever time he had left.
Like his former Ozzy Osbourne bandmate Bob Daisley, Kerslake spent years in litigation with Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne over his contributions to Ozzy's first two solo albums. Unlike Daisley, however, Kerslake says the legal entanglements bankrupted him. Soon after losing to Ozzy in court, his health began deteriorating and he was diagnosed with cancer.
But Kerslake managed to reconcile with the Osbournes before his death. Last year, the couple gifted him two platinum albums in acknowledgment for his work on Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman.
"It was a crying moment," he said of receiving the RIAA plaques. "We finally buried the hatchet between the Osbournes and myself. I respect Sharon and I love Ozzy to bits. Ozzy also sent back a beautiful letter, handwritten."
Kerslake had a number of projects in the works before his death, including a documentary film and a solo album called Eleventeen.
Photo: Getty Images