(photo credit: Associated Press)
Ronnie James Dio, whose soaring vocals, poetic lyrics and mythic tales of a never-ending struggle between good and evil broke new ground in heavy metal, died Sunday, according to a statement from his wife and manager. He was 67.
Dio revealed last summer that he was suffering from stomach cancer shortly after wrapping up a tour in Atlantic City, New Jersey, with the latest incarnation of Black Sabbath, under the name Heaven And Hell.
“Today my heart is broken,” Wendy Dio wrote on the singer’s site. “Many,
many friends and family were able to say their private goodbyes before
he peacefully passed away.
Dio rose to fame in 1975 as the first lead singer of Rainbow, the heavy
metal band put together by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who had just
quit Deep Purple.
Dio then replaced legendary vocalist Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath in
1980 with the critically acclaimed album Heaven And Hell, considered by
many critics to be one of the finest heavy metal albums of all time. He
also enjoyed a successful solo career with his self-titled band, Dio, in
between his three stints with Black Sabbath (1980-82; 1992; and
2007-2009, when the band toured as Heaven And Hell, to differentiate it
from Osbourne-led versions of Sabbath). He performed in Israel most
recently in 2005 at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.