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In Remembrance of a Metal Legend, Ronnie James Dio

I first heard this tragic news yesterday, when I had saw a rumor had stated that he had died on Saturday. But, it was then said that he was actually alive. Later that day, though, this was posted by his wife, Wendy Dio:

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

(If you wish to leave condolences go to the official Facebook page)

I'll be first to sat that this news came to me as major blow. I have been a fan of the man (whose last stage name means God in Italian) and his music since I was in high school. He would eventually become one of my heroes.

He was born Ronald James Padavona on July 10, 1942. After working on various bands, including Elf, he was recruited by Richie Blackmore, along with other Elf members, to form Rainbow. Rainbow was an amazing early heavy metal/ hard rock band. They released three albums with Dio, including Rainbow Rising, which became a classic. He left Rainbow when Blackmore wanted to take the band in a more commercial route.

In 1979, he joined Black Sabbath, after Ozzy had left. They released their masterpiece Heaven and Hell, along with two more albums (the last one a live one). Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules are both considered classics of the genre. The title track from HaH is quite simply one of the greatest metal songs ever written. An epic song with powerful and unforgettable lyrics. It was during this time that he popularized the "devil horns", which came from his grandmother. It's called the Malocchio or evil eye. It gave just another reason for us metalheads, to love and be grateful to him.

Dio eventually left Sabbath and formed his own solo band, Dio. They would put out many albums over the years, including the genre defining classic that is Holy Diver. Both the title track and Rainbow in the Dark became metal favorites. And, gave him further success.

One of my fav Dio tracks, live: Don't Talk to Strangers

Tenacious D sign about Dio

He returned to Sabbath for Dehumanizer, the album that got me into this version of Sabbath, in 1992. He would eventually return full time to Sabbath in 2006. A best of Black Sabbath with Dio collection was released with a couple of new songs. The band changed their name to Heaven and Hell, and would release their one and only studio album (under that name), The Devil That You Know. It was an immediate success, debuting at number 8, making it the highest debut for a Sabbath album in history. It received great reviews and as an awesome, classic sounding masterwork.

Sadly, on November 25, 2009, his wife announced he had stomach cancer. I was greatly saddened by this bit of news. Many fans, including myself, sent their well wishes to him. And, then it seemed that he had gotten better. But, by May 4, Heaven & Hell canceled all their summer tour dates. He had gotten very ill. Dio died at 7:45 am on May 16, 2010.

I feel a very heavy hearted writing this blog. It wasn't easy to put my thoughts into paper. In fact, yesterday, I had to log off the net for a little while; as I was shaken and deeply, deeply saddened. And, so I had to pay tribute to the man, the legend that is Ronnie James Dio, and write this blog, today. While, he is gone his legacy will live on in the great music he made. Throw up those devil horns for him and rock out to his amazing musicianship. May you RIP, Ronnie James Dio.

Now playing: Black Sabbath - Heaven And Hell
via FoxyTunes