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Sabbath’s Geoff Nicholls Dead At 68

One of rock's major sidemen passed away over the weekend.

Geoff Nicholls, best-known for playing keyboards with Black Sabbath from 1974-2004, died Saturday, Jan. 28, at the age of 68 from lung cancer.

Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi shared the news on his Facebook page, writing that, "I'm so saddened to hear the loss of one of my dearest and closes friends Geoff Nicholls...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."

Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne also paid tribute to Nichols, posting, "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 bassist Geezer Butler tweeted that he was "Very sad to hear of old friend and Sabbath keyboard player Geoff Nicholls passing. RIP Geoff."

Nicholls hails from Sabbath's home town of England and played in a band called Quartz, whose 1977 debut album was produced by Iommi. He joined Sabbath as a bassist when Butler quit for a short time, then switched to guitar.

Nicholls was also part of the band Headless Cross with former Sabbath singer Tony Martin but has not been part of Sabbath's The End farewell tour, which features keyboardist Oliver Wakeman from Osbourne's solo band.


Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.