Lee Kerslake, drummer for Ozzy Osbourne and British rock band Uriah Heep, dies at 73

Drummer Lee Kerslake perform on stage with the band Uriah Heep in 1970.

Drummer Lee Kerslake, who performed with Ozzy Osbourne and British rock band Uriah Heep, has died, the band confirmed Saturday. He was 73. 

"Where are the words to describe the feelings one has when you (lose) a friend, colleague, fellow band mate (for 20 some odd years!) brother in arms, let alone when it’s someone larger than life like Lee Kerslake?" a post reads on Uriah Heep's verified Facebook page, signed by lead singer Bernie Shaw. 

USA TODAY has reached out to Uriah Heep's representative to ask when Kerslake died.

Kerslake performed with Uriah Heep for much of the 1970s before going on to play with Ozzy Osbourne. He rejoined Uriah Heep in the '80s and stayed on until 2007, contributing to 17 of the band's 25 studio albums. 

Osbourne mourned Kerslake in a social media post Saturday: "It’s been 39 years since I’ve seen Lee but he lives for ever on the records he played on for me, 'Blizzard of Ozz' and 'Diary of a Madman.' Lee Kerslake RIP," he wrote.

It’s been 39 years since I’ve seen Lee but he lives for ever on the records he played on for me, Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. Lee Kerslake RIP
Image

On Uriah Heep's verified Twitter account, lead guitarist Mick Box called Kerslake "one of the kindest men on earth" and "an incredible drummer, singer and song writer."

Shaw, who has been with the band since 1986, remembered Kerslake as being "generous to a fault."

"Always smiling and ready to entertain at the drop of a hat," he wrote. "Many a free drink was had after a show when he would get up and play with a local band at the nearest club we could find, and first up if there was someone with a fishing boat willing to take him out for the day."

Shaw added: "Is Heaven ready for Lee Kerslake?! Boy. There’s one hell of a party. Rock on Lee, you deserve it mate. Will miss you."

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"Blizzard of Oz" 40 year anniversary

  • Ozzy Osbourne – lead vocals, harmony vocals
  • Randy Rhoads – electric and classical guitars
  • *Bob Daisley – bass, backing vocals, gongs  *Bob Daisley credited for all lyrics
  • Lee Kerslake – drums, percussion, tubular bells, timpani
  • Don Airey – keyboards

Blizzard of Ozz is the debut studio album by British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, released on September 20, 1980 in the UK and on March 27, 1981 in the US. The album was Osbourne's first release following his firing from Black Sabbath in 1979. Blizzard of Ozz is the first of two studio albums Osbourne recorded with guitarist Randy Rhoads prior to Rhoads' death in 1982. In 2017, it was ranked 9th on Rolling Stone's list of "100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time"

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