Stryper’s Oz Fox Details Multiple Brain Surgeries Ahead to Remove Tumors
Stryper guitarist Oz Fox has been troubled with health issues in recent years. He was diagnosed with two brain tumors in the summer of 2018, and after further setbacks, is planning to undergo multiple brain surgeries to have them removed, as detailed in a recent interview where he offered an update on his health.
In 2018, Fox suffered an onstage seizure with his band Sin City Sinner, which prompted doctors to take note of an "area of concern" in his brain, which was later revealed to be a pair of tumors. Over the following year, the tumors increased in size, putting the guitarist's health at increased risk.
Fox again suffered a seizure in October of last year, which required hospitalization as doctors plotted surgery to remove the tumors, one behind the ear and another on the back of his brain.
Speaking with Sin City Sinners manager Jason Green (video below), the 59-year-old Fox outlined the details of each procedure along with their associated risks. Fortunately, after some testing, they localized the area of the brain that's active while Fox plays guitar and sings and confirmed this area will not be impacted by either surgery.
"I've got a great team of people, great team of doctors that are very specialized. They do hundreds of these procedures a year," said Fox. [transcription via Blabbermouth]
"They're gonna open up the skull. The good thing is the [first] tumor [they will operate on] is towards the outside of the head, towards the outside of the brain, which it's easy access — they don't have to go too deep to get to it. And they did all testing on me to make sure that wherever they go in there, they won't damage any of my functions," the Stryper axeman went on.
Still, he acknowledged that this is not a guarantee. "You never know with the brain," he lamented.
When discussing the need to address both tumors, Fox clarified, "They have to work on the right-brain low-grade tumor — they're going to work on that first — and if all goes well with that, [there will be a] six-week recovery time, and then I can start working on the left one [behind the ear]."
That second procedure will be more intrusive and carries a different set of risks.
"For the other side, it will be a bit different," Fox, who last played on Stryper's 2020 album Even the Devil Believes, relayed. "They have to go into a different part of my skull here. They'll have to cut a portion of my skull out to get into that area, and then, of course, replace it again. I'll have steel titanium plates in my head and all that crazy stuff. The only thing about this one is it's so close to the audio nerves that I could lose my hearing. They say it affects nerves on the side of my face here, so that could be a problem. I'm already feeling numbness around my mouth."
Of the health risks, Fox affirmed, "The left ear, when they work on this tumor, there's a good chance I could lose my hearing, or the nerves going to my balance part of the ear, the cochlea. If that happens, then I will have to really recuperate in a way where my right ear would take over for my balance, which it's amazing that the brain can do that."
The longtime Stryper guitarist was also aware that the procedures could ultimately lead to his death, but this is something he is no afraid of.
"The worst thing that could happen is something could go wrong and I could pass," he added. "Well, if that ever happened, in whatever situation — I could die driving a car, getting in a wreck somewhere or somebody running into me. But because of my [Christian] faith, I know where I'm going, and I have a belief in eternity with my soul. And because I've followed Christ for so long now, and I have a full-on relationship — I've surrendered my entire life to him — the promises that he gives in his words are that I have a better place to go to after this. I'll basically be changing addresses with my soul. That's the mindset I have."
"Nobody wants to ever leave their family or things that they invested in years, but when it's your time, it's your time," he further rationalized. "So that doesn't scare me. I mean, we could go down in a plane. [Laughs] So, you never know. And I'm certainly not afraid of that — I'm not afraid of death. The only thing I think I'd be… Well, I don't even wanna say it… There's not fun ways to die, let's put it that way. [Laughs] If it's quick, it's better. [Laughs]"
Stryper's Oz Fox Give Health Update