The final seven dates of the European Ozzfest tour have been canceled after guitarist Zakk Wylde departed due to illness.
Wylde, who has been playing with Ozzy's band as well as his own Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society, withdrew from the trek due to mental and physical exhaustion, according to a tour spokesperson. Wylde returned to the U.S. Tuesday and is now recuperating at home.
The dates affected were in Lisbon, Portugal (June 4); Zurich, Switzerland (June 8); Copenhagen, Denmark (June 10); Stockholm, Sweden (June 11); Helsinki, Finland (June 13); St. Petersburg, Russia (June 15); and Moscow, Russia (June 16).
Wylde has been the Ozzfest ironman in the last two years. Not only was he doing double duty on the European trek (and expected to do the same on the U.S. leg), he performed on last year's Ozzfest with his Black Label Society as well. In the last 24 months, he recorded and hit the road to promote his band's latest album, 1919 Eternal; played on Ozzy's Down to Earth; toured with Osbourne on last fall's Merry Mayhem outing and appeared in the 2001 film Rock Star.
There's been no official word on whether Wylde's condition would impinge on Ozzfest's U.S. dates, which begins July 6 in Bristow, Virginia, though Wylde's publicist doubted it would have any impact on the trek.
This string of cancellations follows another nixed date, May 26 in Dublin, Ireland, which was called off due to Osbourne's throat infection. His pipes have healed, however, and he performed at the Queen's Golden Jubilee concert in London on Monday (see "Ozzy, Elton John, Paul McCartney Salute Queen Of England").
The European version of Ozzfest also featured Tool, Slayer and a revolving cast of others, including System of a Down, Bad Religion, Drowning Pool and Kittie (see "Ozzfest Gets Czech Republic Roaring").
Several fans voiced their displeasure at the canceled shows on the tour's official Web site, www.ozzfest.com. Most didn't understand why someone else couldn't fill in for Wylde so that the show could continue as planned.
"I thought these (Ozzy, Zakk and other bands) people are PROFESSIONALS, but I'm not sure," one fan posted Wednesday afternoon.
"Is Zakk the only guitar player in the world?" wondered another Tuesday. "I'm sorry for him, but there are a lot of guitar players ... [former Ozzy guitarist] Joe Holmes, for example."
Ozzfest spokespeople couldn't address these fans' concerns at press time.
[This story was updated at 3:36 P.M. EST on 06.05.02.]