The world has lost another music legend in longtime Black Sabbath keyboardist Geoff Nicholls.
The metal maestro, who was renowned for making the single daggiest instrument in heavy music seem cool, passed away on Saturday at the age of 68 following a long battle with lung cancer.
Nicholls served a life sentence with Sabbath, sticking with the band for 25 years and nine studio albums. He originally joined in 1979 as their second guitarist, but then switched to bass following the brief departure of Geezer Butler, and even composed the bassline for the ass-kicking title track of 1980’s classic Heaven and Hell album. Then, when Butler returned, Nicholls traded instruments once again, becoming Sabbath’s full-time keyboardist and upholding the role all the way til 2004.
In a statement on social media, Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne said: “Geoff Nicholls was a great friend of mine for a long time. He will be greatly missed. I’m very saddened at the news.”
While guitarist Tony Iommi wrote wrote: “I’m so saddened to hear the loss of one of my dearest and closest friends Geoff Nicholls. He’s been suffering for a while now with lung cancer and he lost his battle this morning. 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.”
RIP to another legend.
Geoff Nicholls was a great friend of mine for a long time. He will be greatly missed. I'm very saddened at the news.
— Ozzy Osbourne (@OzzyOsbourne) January 28, 2017