Ronnie James Dio loses battle with cancer: Dio was a phenomenal human being says Brian Slagel from Metal Blade

For today, the metal horns hand gesture, attributed to Ronnie James Dio, carries a different meaning.  Just weeks after losing Peter Steele, the metal world is now coping with the death of Ronnie James Dio.  Wendy Dio posted the following this morning:

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

I think everyone in the metal world will agree that Dio was a special man with tremendous charisma and a distinct, irreplaceable voice.  The metal world was pulling for the Heaven and Hell frontman, who also led his own band, Rainbow, and Black Sabbath. Unfortunately, Dio lost his battle with stomach cancer.

Other folks in the rock and metal community had this to say…

“Our hearts are heavy with the news of Ronnie James Dio’s passing. Words can’t express how much he will be missed,” reads the most recent status update on the Heaven and Hell Facebook page.

“Looks like Dime, Randy, Cliff and Bonzo just scored the ultimate singer….this is one of the saddest days in metal ever…. : (,“ tweeted Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater.

“Dio was a phenomenal human being,” said Brian Slagel from Metal Blade Records at the NARM Convention Metal Meetup.  Others who attended the meetup and met Dio had similar sentiment about singer.

“RIP Ronnie James Dio, one of the best Heavy Metal singers of all time” facebooked Slash,

“Ronnie was a true gentleman, and obviously one of the best rock singers there will ever be. What a sad loss today.  R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio. I only got to meet him once and I can honestly say he was the nicest person I have ever met in music.” tweeted Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins.

“Ronnie James Dio, you will be missed. R.I.P.,” Facebooked Mutiny Within.

According to the American Cancer Society, there were 21,130 new diagnosed cases of stomach cancer and 10,620 deaths from the illness in 2009.  For more information about the disease, visit the AMA website.

A little Dio history…

Dio was born Ronald James Padavona in 1942 in Portsmouth, N.H. He began playing in rock bands starting in the late ‘50s in Cortland, N.Y., and eventually formed the band Elf in 1969. A tour as opening act with Deep Purple led to Dio’s first big break – he caught the ear of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who formed the band Rainbow with the vocalist.

The singer then joined Black Sabbath in 1979 after the departure of Ozzy Osbourne, and sparked one of the group’s best albums, “Heaven and Hell.” He would continue working off and on with Sabbath and Sabbath band members throughout the remainder of his career, in between stints with Dio – a classic, old-school metal band that toured and recorded consistently over the last three decades. The Dio band released 10 studio albums since 1983 and went through numerous lineup changes, with the singer the sole constant.  (Source: Chicago Tribune)

We send warm regards to Dio’s friends, family and bandmates, past and present.

R.I.P. Dio… \m/

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