He replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath and was also lead singer for the bands Rainbow and Dio. Many of his songs revolved around the struggle between good and evil.
Ronnie James Dio, a legendary heavy metal singer who replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath and also was lead singer for the bands Rainbow and Dio, has died. He was 67.
Dio died Sunday, according to a statement on his website by Wendy Dio, his wife and manager. Maureen O'Connor, a Los Angeles publicist, said Dio died in Los Angeles. No cause was given, but Dio had said last summer that he was suffering from stomach cancer."Today my heart is broken," Wendy Dio wrote. "Many, many friends and family were able to say their private goodbyes before he peacefully passed away."
Dio replaced Osbourne in Black Sabbath in 1979. His first album with Sabbath, "Heaven and Hell," helped rejuvenate the group, selling more than 1 million copies. But Dio left soon after the release of "Mob Rules" in 1981 to form Dio.
He returned to Black Sabbath briefly in the 1990s and more recently had formed Heaven & Hell, basically a version of the band without Osbourne.
"Because I've been in and out of [a number of bands], people think I'm difficult," he told The Times in 1997. "That [probably] comes about because I'm very intense about what I do. I have a really high standard, and I expect people around me to reach that standard as well. That's probably unfair."
He was born Ronald James Padavona on July 10, 1942, in Portsmouth, N.H., and raised in New York. He once said he would have preferred playing for the Yankees to a life in rock music. He started his career with local bands such as the Vegas Kings.
His career took off in 1975 when he joined Rainbow. Dio had been playing with Elf, a band originally called the Electric Elves, but after guitarist Ritchie Blackmore quit Deep Purple, he brought most of the band into Rainbow.
"With a guy who played guitar like Ritchie … and had this dark demeanor, it was perfect for me to get into a place where I could start writing darker and heavier things that I always wanted to do," he told the Press & Sun-Bulletin of Binghamton, N.Y, in 2007.
Many of Dio's most memorable songs revolved around the struggle between good and evil, including "Heaven and Hell." He also drew heavily on medieval imagery in such songs as "Neon Knights," "Killing The Dragon" and "Stargazer."
METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich has penned the following open letter to legendary heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio (DIO, HEAVEN & HELL, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW):