Well fuck. 2010 really blows so far. First, Pete Steele and now Ronnie James Dio who died earlier today, according to Blabbermouth. This time it ain’t a mistake.

Wendy Dio, wife/manager of legendary heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio (DIO, HEAVEN & HELL, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW), has released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET:

“Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45 a.m. [on Sunday] 16th May. 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.”

It was only a month ago that Dio, 67, spoke about his battle with cancer with the Artisan News Service on the “black carpet” of the Revolver Golden Gods Awards, which took place on April 8 at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles. When asked about how he had been feeling since he was diagnosed with the disease late last year, Dio said, “Well, I feel good and bad at times. It’s a long process. Chemotherapy is a… I never realized what a difficult thing it was to go through. It’s a real cumulative effect, the more you have, the more it piles up on top and it takes longer and longer to get over it. I find it very difficult to eat. I don’t like to eat anyway, so I guess that’s OK. But I know I have to. But this makes it very, very hard. But if you’re determined to beat it, then you have to go with what you believe is going to beat it for you, and in this case it’s that. I go to a great hospital in Houston called M.D. Anderson, which I think is the best hospital in the world, I have the best doctor in the world, Dr. Ajani, who I really trust and I really believe in, so I think I’ve done all the right things. It makes me feel positive about my life and positive that there is a lot more of it to live.”

Earlier this month, HEAVEN & HELL canceled its summer tour plans in Europe due to Dio‘s treatment for stomach cancer. The band said in a statement that Dio wasn’t “well enough to tour this summer. We hope that everyone understands and want to thank fans and industry colleagues for their continuing support at this time.”

Ronnie James Dio had performed with ELF, RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH, and his own band DIO. Other musical projects included the collective fundraiser “Hear ‘n Aid”. He is widely hailed as one of the most powerful singers in heavy metal, renowned for his consistently powerful voice and for popularizing the “devil’s horns” hand gesture in metal culture. He was most recently involved with HEAVEN & HELL, a project which also included former BLACK SABBATH bandmates Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice. Their first and only studio album, “The Devil You Know”, was released on April 28, 2009.

Once again I’m left with the unenviable task of writing a eulogy for a man I never knew. But let me just be clear about this: Ronnie James Dio was a heavy metal institution. He was the best of the best. He was the man who saved Black Sabbath from Ozzy and who made, at the age 66, one of the most widely acclaimed heavy metal records of 2009, not to mention his excellent solo career. He was tiny, but he had a huge voice and personality and he invented the metal horns as we know it (supposedly). There are few out there who I have as much respect for and there will never be anyone quite like the man. I will definitely be listening to some Dio and thinking fondly of learning to play his music and wishing I could sing like him.

I wish his wife and family all the best in this fucking shitty time and all of us here at AMG will definitely raise a toast to his memory while blasting his tunes.

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  • dheim

    damn. this is really bad.

  • First Pete Steele and now Dio. This is a sad year for Metal and its fans. Ronnie James Dio was a heavy metal giant who did his art loud and proud! I totally agree with your statement, “He was the man who saved Black Sabbath from Ozzy.” That, in and of itself, was no small feat! His voice was so powerful and I’m just glad it will live on for future generations to sing along with and flash the horns to! \m/

  • Devilthorn

    Is it a bummer that Dio died? Sure. But honestly, I personally believe he is VASTLY overrated. He did NOT save Sabbath from Ozzy. Sabbath is nothing without Ozzy. Dio’s work in Sabbath was mediocre, as was his solo work, and the work in Rainbow, Elf, and elsewhere. To this day, I still cannot see why everyone seems to worship Dio’s voice and work. Average at best, and nothing special. It sucks whenever a metal musician passes away, but all the “greatest ever” comments are ludicrous. As far as I’m concerned, the loss of Peter Steele is MUCH greater loss to the music community.