Sad news just in tonight that legendary metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio has passed away after losing his ongoing battle with stomach cancer at the age of 67.
His wife and long time manager Wendy left a message on Dio’s official website for fans today:
Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes 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.
- Wendy Dio
Although his Dungeons & Dragons imagery and diminutive stature occasionally led to ridicule, Dio was widely regarded as a true professional by fellow musicians. From humble beginnings playing trumpet and bass guitar in the late 50’s and 60’s his distinctive vocals helped define the sound of late 70’s heavy rock during stints in Rainbow and as Ozzy Osbourne’s replacement in Black Sabbath – he had recently reformed with members of Sabbath and was intending to tour under the ‘Heaven & Hell’ moniker – and he is widely credited for popularising the distinctive ‘devil’s horn’s’ salute familiar to rockers worldwide.
Ronnie also fronted his own band and became America’s number one touring act during the mid-80’s, and despite wavering fortunes continued to tour consistantly to the last.
On a personal note, we here at DT would like to extend our sympathies to Ronnie’s family. Having crossed paths with the man on several occasions over the years, he was a dedicated and genuinely pleasant individual who created some of the most singular and influential music in metal and his presence will be keenly missed by friends and fans alike.