'Geezer' remembers Ronnie James Dio
Black Sabbath bassist Terry "Geezer" Butler has told of his last moments with friend and bandmate Ronnie James Dio.
In his statement, Terry recounted his final days with the singer, who died on May 16 of stomach cancer at age 67.
Terry - who performed with Ronnie in Heaven And Hell, the latest incarnation of Black Sabbath - said he shared his last laugh and received his final email from Ronnie on May 12, then went to visit him on May 15 at the hospital along with "25 to 30 friends".
"We knew the end was imminent," he wrote. "We all wanted to say our goodbyes."
Terry said the day was filled with tears and reflection.
"In the evening, the chaplain came, and we all gathered around Ronnie's bed and prayed," he wrote. "At 11pm, most of us left, leaving Wendy [Ronnie's wife] her privacy to say her last farewell. The devastation was palpable."
Terry added that Ronnie was a "special person, blessed with a unique voice and presence".
He ended his statement thanking Dio "for the wonderful memories".
Ronnie's family has also announced a public memorial service is planned for May 30 in the Hall of Liberty at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills.
In addition to his wife Wendy, Ronnie is survived by son Daniel, grandchildren Julie and Joey, and father Pat.