Heavy Metal legend Ronnie James Dio died peacefully yesterday after a battle with stomach cancer. Dio was known for replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath as well as being the founder of the group Dio. Not only is he legendary in the metal world for his music, but he also popularized the “devil horns” sign. He said that the sign had come from his grandmother who used it to ward off evil.
Dio was in the original lineup of the band Rainbow along with former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. In 1979, Dio left Rainbow to replace Ozzy in Black Sabbath, and released the album Heaven and Hell which revitalized the band. He was with the band on and off several times. After the first 2 years of his first stint with the band, he started up his own successful band – Dio.
On January 17, 2007, he was inducted into the Rock Walk of Fame at Guitar Center on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard.
Dio revealed last summer that he was suffering from stomach cancer shortly after wrapping up a tour in Atlantic City, N.J., with the latest incarnation of Black Sabbath under the name Heaven And Hell.
He was married to Wendy Galaxiola, who also served as his manager.
On March 14, 2010, Wendy posted an online update on his condition:
“It has been Ronnie’s 7th chemo, another cat scan and another endoscopy, and the results are good – the main tumour has shrunk considerably, and our visits to Houston (cancer clinic in Texas) are now every three weeks instead of every two weeks.”
On May 4, Heaven and Hell announced they were cancelling all summer dates as a result of Dio’s ill health.
Dio died at 7:45 am (CDT) on May 16, 2010.
Here is my favorite Dio song, “Rainbow in the Dark”: