After battling the cancer that he was diagnosed with late last year, Ronald James Padavona (better known to his passionate fans as Ronnie James Dio) succumbed to his illness earlier today. He was 67 years old.
Via his website (www.ronniejamesdio.com), his wife Wendy posted the following message:
“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.”
Having performed with Elf, Rainbow and of course his own band Dio, he will probably be best remembered as the man who replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath. While Sabbath’s music may have been more trailblazing beforehand, and while many argue that Ozzy was a better fit for the band, few could counter the fact that Dio was a superior singer in terms of talent.
He was, unquestionably, one of the greatest singers not only in heavy metal’s history, but in the spectrum of rock music as a whole.
More recently he has been performing with his former Black Sabbath bandmates under the moniker Heaven & Hell.
In addition to his musical contribution to heavy metal and pop culture, he will forever be associated with his signature hand gesture, the act of throwing up the “devil horns.”
RIP Dio. Thank you for your music. I extend my sympathies to your family and your fans worldwide. Horns up.