Above: Stryper guitarist Oz Fox. Photo: John Charles, Facebook.
A sudden health scare has cast a shadow over Christian metal band Stryper and its current world tour, as long-time guitarist Oz Fox faces a diagnosis of brain tumours.
The musician suffered a seizure while performing in Las Vegas on Saturday (August 11), and was rushed to hospital to undergo tests which have today revealed two masses on the brain.
The good news for Aussie fans is that the Australian leg of the tour will still go ahead—but without the guitarist they know and love.
Oz’s wife Annie Lobert shared on Facebook on Tuesday that the health scare has “messed her up” but followed it with a statement of faith, asking fans to pray and saying she was encouraged by Chronicles in the Bible: “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
Today she revealed he has two inoperable tumours (which surgeons recommend not removing), including one “by the back of the right brain” that is “about an inch” in size. Oz has opted to undergo a risky biopsy on the tumour in the back.
She asked for “serious, strategic prayer”. “Please pray for this mass to NOT be cancerous, and that he will recover quickly! Pray for the doctors hands to be steady & her mind to be sharp with wisdom & precision [and] skill. We don’t want to be in fear…we believe that God has a plan for this even though this is a serious & life altering trial! Please continue to lift us up in prayer!”
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Stryper’s singer Michael Sweet, recently interviewed by Hope 103.2, asked fans for prayer via Facebook.
“I met Oz when I was almost 13 years old,” he wrote. “We went to high school together and we’ve been through it all together. We’ve been a “duo” for almost our entire lives and I love him. He’s family and a brother to me. Unexpectedly Oz fell ill and is now in the hospital. We’re all waiting to hear good news and we’re all praying deeply for that🙏 We so appreciate your thoughts and prayers.”
He said the band has postponed the Japan leg of its current world tour, and that although they wanted to postpone the Australian dates, the shows will go ahead.
“Due to financial restraints (on the Australian side mind you), we made the very difficult decision to go after all and do what is best for all involved,” he wrote. “The first thing we did was to get Oz’s blessing and being the person that Oz is, we received that. Although it will not be the same at all without Oz, we did what we felt we had to do and we did it the best way we possibly could.”
He asked fans to pray for Oz.
“The important thing right now is Oz’s health and well being,” he said. “Please continue to pray for him at this time. Pray for Annie and his family as well. We’ll be releasing updates as they come in. We look forward to seeing you all on the road – with our brother, friend and partner Oz.”
Stryper is playing live shows in four Australian capital cities between August 17 and 21.