"It's been terribly challenging for us all," the legendary rocker, 71, says of the February 2019 diagnosis.
Ozzy Osbourne has always prided himself on being an open book, in good times and in bad.
And so the legendary rocker, 71, is telling his fans the truth about his private, year-long health battle: He was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in February of 2019.
Sitting down with Robin Roberts for an interview with "Good Morning America" that aired Tuesday, Ozzy, wife Sharon, and kids Jack and Kelly opened up for the first time about how the patriarch's diagnosis has impacted their famous family.
"I'm no good with secrets. I cannot walk around with it anymore 'cause it's like I'm running out of excuses, you know?" Ozzy told Roberts.
"It's been terribly challenging for us all," he went on. "I did my last show New Year's Eve at The Forum. Then I had a bad fall. I had to have surgery on my neck, which screwed all my nerves." It was shortly after the fall, Ozzy said, that he was diagnosed with the incurable neurodegenerative disorder that causes constant tremors in most patients.
"It's PRKN 2," noted Sharon. "There's so many different types of Parkinson's; it's not a death sentence by any stretch of the imagination, but it does affect certain nerves in your body. And it's -- it's like you have a good day, a good day, and then a really bad day."
Ozzy described the nerve pain and numbness as a "weird feeling," saying he "got a numbness down this arm for the surgery, my legs keep going cold. I don't know if that's the Parkinson's or what, you know, but that's -- see, that's the problem. Because they cut nerves when they did the surgery."
It was actually Ozzy's kids who first suspected something was off with their dad.
"The hardest thing is watching somebody that you love suffer," Kelly said. "It's kind of become a bit of -- I think a role reversal for us, where we have to be like, 'Snap out of it. Come on we -- we have to all admit what's happening here,' so that we can get over this. And it took a while for everyone to be on the same page."
"We've all learned so much about each other again -- and it's reaffirmed how strong we are," she added, noting the diagnosis has also helped improved her relationship with her brother.
Jack, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012, said he can relate to his dad now more than ever, telling Robin, "I understand when you have something you don't want to have -- but if he wants to talk, and if not -- I try to slip in information."
In addition to the new physical challenges, Ozzy's self-worth has also taken a hit; he feels he can't contribute to his family the way he once did.
"Coming from a working class background, I hate to let people down. I hate to not do my job," he explained. "And so when I see my wife goin' to work, my kids goin' to work, everybody's doing -- tryin' to be helpful to me, that gets me down because I can't contribute to my family, you know."
"But you know, put it this way -- I'm a lot better now than I was last February," he added. "I was in a shocking state."
In an effort to keep her dad's spirits up, Kelly's played an active role in getting him back into the studio to work on music. "The only thing I know is what can I do to make him smile? I know going to the studio makes him happy. That's what I did," she said. "Everything else was him."
Ozzy has since been regaining his strength and focusing on what he's always loved to do: perform for his fans. He's even released his first new single in a decade, a track called, "Ordinary Man."
"They're my air, you know," he said of his supporters. "I feel better. I've owned up to the fact that I have -- a case of Parkinson's. And I just hope they hang on and they're there for me because I need them. I wanna see my people, you know. It's like I'm -- I miss them so much."
Ozzy and his wife are also looking outside of the United States for more answers. As Sharon explained, "We've kind of reached a point here in this country where we can't go any further because we've got all the answers we can get here. So in April -- we're going to a professional in Switzerland. And he deals with -- getting your immune system at its peak."
Nevertheless, she's hopeful. "He's gonna get back out there," she said. "And he's gonna do what he loves to do; I know it."
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