The original lineup of Black Sabbath ended 2011 by announcing some big plans for the New Year. However, it would appear that Iommi is kicking off 2012 on a sad note. According to a new posting on Black Sabbath’s Facebook page, the guitarist has been diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphocytes.

Here’s what the band revealed thus far via a statement:

“With the news that Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma, his bandmates would like everyone to send positive vibes to the guitarist at this time. Iommi is currently working with his doctors to establish the best treatment plan–the “IRON MAN” of Rock & Roll remains upbeat and determined to make a full and successful recovery.

This comes as Black Sabbath–Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass) and Bill Ward (drums)–are writing and recording their first album in 33 years in Los Angeles (still set for release this fall) with producer Rick Rubin. They will now go to the UK to continue to work with Tony. Further information will be released as it becomes available.”

As the American Cancer Fund explains, lymphoma is “a type of blood cancer that occurs when lymphocytes–white blood cells that help protect the body from infection and disease–begin behaving abnormally.” Though the statement still appears rather vague, it would appear that Sabbath’s plans to record a new album and tour in 2012 are still set in stone despite Iommi’s illness. Hopefully more information and details will be revealed soon, but until then we’re hoping for the best for Iommi.