Ronnie James Dio, Black Sabbath metal god, died this morning, after a six-month battle with stomach cancer. He was 67 years old. Surrounded by loved ones, the Houston hospital listed his death at 7:45 am this morning.
The only child of a big Italian family, Ronnie James Dio was once quoted as saying: “My childhood was safe and sane. No abuse and no traumas. I was surrounded by a large and loving family who taught me the importance of hard work and a meaningful education.”
The former Rainbow singer, in 1979, replaced Ozzy Osbourne, as lead singer in the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. Together, the band released the successful Heaven and Hell album breathing new life into the band’s career. During that time, Ronnie James Dio became most famous for his “devil’s horn” gesture. Dio said that his Italian grandmother used to make the hand gesture to ward off the evil eye.
His wife Wendy, denying yesterday that her husband had passed, confirmed today that the rumor was true. She said on his website, “Today my heart is broken … 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.”
Thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Wendy, family, friends and fans. His memorial is expected to be held next weekend. May he rest in peace.