Geoff Nicholls, keyboardist for the rock band Black Sabbath, died yesterday. He was 68.

The musician lost his battle with lung cancer.

Nicholls appeared on nine of the band’s albums and regularly toured with them. He joined Black Sabbath following the firing of Ozzy Osbourne in 1979. The keyboardist first appeared on the legendary heavy metal band’s 1980 album, Heaven and Hell. Five years later he was named an official member of the group, but left in 1996 after Osbourne returned.

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi confirmed the news on Facebook:

“I’m so saddened to hear the loss of one of my dearest and closest friends Geoff Nicholls,” Iommi wrote. “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.”

Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler also shared his condolences on Facebook. “Very sad to hear of old friend and Sabbath keyboard player Geoff Nicholls passing. RIP Geoff,” he wrote.

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