Less than two months ago the world nearly exploded when iconic metal gods Black Sabbath announced their long anticipated reunion and first studio album with original frontman Ozzy Osbourne since 1978. But the party may already be over before it really even started as the band have officially announced that lead guitarist Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with lymphoma; a cancer of the lymphocytes which are a type of cell that forms part of the immune system.

A statement just released on the band’s Facebook page reads:

With the news that Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma, his bandmates would like everyone to send positive vibes to the guitarist at this time. Iommi is currently working with his doctors to establish the best treatment plan–the “IRON MAN” of Rock & Roll remains upbeat and determined to make a full and successful recovery.

This comes as Black Sabbath–Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass) and Bill Ward (drums)–are writing and recording their first album in 33 years in Los Angeles (still set for release this fall) with producer Rick Rubin. They will now go to the UK to continue to work with Tony. Further information will be released as it becomes available.

The band had planned on embarking on a massive worldwide tour throughout 2012 in addition to recording and releasing a new album, but Iommi’s health may be a serious roadblock to those plans. Lymphoma is a type of cancer that can be cured if detected early enough, so the fact that their statement says Iommi was in the early stages is a good sign.

Hundreds of well-wishers have flocked to social media to express their support for the legendary guitarist including a number of high profile musicians:

https://twitter.com/#!/Slash/status/156398056781266944

We wish Tony a speedy recovery, and at the risk of sounding insensitive hope this doesn’t mean the reunion is off because we were really looking forward to some real metal for a change. Like this page or tweet all your friends and show your support for Tony.