Geneticists Study Ozzy Osbourne's Mysterious Longevity

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Ozzy Osbourne, the 61-year-old Black Sabbath singer as famous for hard partying as for pioneering early heavy metal, has done some drugs in his day. At a concert in January 1982—and this is true—he even bit the head off a bat. (He thought it was fake.) Since those hard-living years, Osbourne has relaxed but never quite recovered, as was put on full display in his family's reality TV show, The Osbournes. Ozzy even spoofed his spacey mannerisms, which are due in part to a decades-long drug hangover and in part to his suffering from Parkin Syndrome, in a series of Samsung ads.

In the above interview where he discusses the bat incident and more, Osbourne jokes about selling his body to science once he's passed. But science, it seems, won't have to wait that long. The Associated Press reports that a very enterprising company Cofactor Genomics is studying Ozzy to try and understand how, exactly, he's managed to survive this long.

DNA researchers in St. Louis say they're part of a team working to determine why decades of substance abuse didn't take down the Prince of Darkness.

Jon Armstrong is chief marketing officer for St. Louis-based Cofactor Genomics. He said Wednesday that Osbourne has asked a Massachusetts human genomics company to map his DNA. Cofactor is partnering in the effort.

Armstrong says the mapping may not offer definitive answers about the longtime Black Sabbath front man's relative longevity. But it could help understanding of the relationship between DNA and the environment.

The A.V. Club's Sean O'Neal comments, "Here’s a guy who did more drugs in his day than any of us could hope to ingest in two lifetimes, even if we doubled-down on the weekends, and yet he’s still knocking around, saying kooky things, and releasing new albums while we’re worrying about accidentally overdosing on Xanax, scotch, and Ambien. What’s his secret, anyway? Thanks to science, we may soon know the answer!"

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.