Bernie Tormé, the Irish guitarist who once played in Ozzy Osbourne‘s backing band, has died at the age of 66. The guitarist had been on life support over the last few weeks, but finally succumbed to what was reported as “virulent double pneumonia” on Sunday, March 17th, a day before what would have been his 67th birthday.

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Tormé started his musical career at the height of the arena rock era of the 1970s with the Bernie Tormé Band. He’d also go on to team up with former Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan in his own rock outfit before being recruited to join Ozzy Osbourne’s backing band as a guitarist following the tragic death of Randy Rhoads.

“Bernie Tormé passed away peacefully on the 17th March 2019, one day short of his 67th birthday, surrounded by his family,” Tormé’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.”

Fans can watch the video below to hear Tormé rock guitar abilities during a 1981 performance with Gillan.

Gillan – “No Easy Way”

[Video: iangillan]

Tormé had kept busy over the last few years in releasing a string of solo albums including Blackheart (2015), Dublin Cowboy (2017), and Shadowland (2018).

[H/T Guitar World]