Sunday, May 16, 2010

Horns at Half Mast: Ronnie James Dio Dies

Mere hours ago, Wendy Dio, wife and manager of heavy metal legend Ronnie James Dio, issued the following statement to

"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."

Dio was diagnosed with stomach cancer in November 2009. Just last month he spoke to the Artisan News Service about his ongoing battle with the disease, describing the ups and downs of his condition and his determination to go on:

"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."

In early May 2010, Heaven and Hell were forced to cancel all tour dates due to Dio's ongoing cancer treatments. In an official statement, the band said that Dio would not be "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, born Ronald James Padavona on July 10, 1942 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was the only child in an Italian family. He began his foray into music playing the trumpet as a boy. Later, he began playing bass and eventually moved to singing. Perhaps best known for his immensely powerful singing voice, Dio claimed to have never taken any formal singing lessons and attributed his phenomenal ability to the breathing techniques he learned during his time playing the French horn as a child.

Dio performed with a number of groups during his career, including Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and, of course, Dio. He also worked on various projects, including the Hear 'n Aid fundraiser effort. Aside from being renowned for his vocal ability, Dio was also known for popularizing the "devil's horns" gesture in metal culture. More recently, Dio was involved with the band Heaven and Hell with former Black Sabbath bandmates Tony Iommi, Vinny Appice, and Geezer Butler. The band's first and only studio album, entitled The Devil You Know, was released on April 28, 2009.

Ronnie James Dio is survived by his wife, Wendy Dio, his son, Dan Padavona, numerous family and friends, and countless fans throughout the world.

Ronnie James Dio
July 10, 1942 - May 16, 2010

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