In Memoriam: Ronnie James Dio

May 17, 2010 by Tim Karan

In Memoriam: Ronnie James Dio

Vocalist Ronnie James Dio, best known for his work with Black Sabbath and Rainbow, passed away Sunday less than a year after being diagnosed with stomach cancer. He was 67.

A statement released by Dio's wife, Wendy, reads, "Today my heart is broken. Ronnie passed away at 7:45 a.m. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private goodbyes before he peacefully passed away. Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all. We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us. Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss. Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever."

Born Ronald James Padavona, Dio released his first record in 1958 with Ronnie & The Red Caps and adopted his stage name a few years later. Dio was recruited into Rainbow in 1975 by Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and three full-lengths were released with Dio in the band before he left. He replaced Ozzy Osbourne as the frontman of Black Sabbath in 1979. After Sabbath went their separate ways in the early '80s, Dio formed his own band simply called "Dio" and released 10 studio albums through 2004's Master Of The Moon. He was also part of a short-lived Black Sabbath reunion in the '90s. He later formed Heaven And Hell with his former Sabbath bandmates.

Dio is widely credited with popularizing the heavy metal "devil horns" hand gesture. Earlier this month, Heaven And Hell's summer tour of Europe was canceled due to Dio's health. Our deepest condolences go out to Dio's family, friends and fans.

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