Heavy metal legend Dio dies aged 67
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, has died aged 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," his wife Wendy wrote on the singer's website. "Many, many friends and family were able to say their private goodbyes 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 know he loved you all and his music will live on forever."
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 Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath in 1980 with the critically acclaimed album Heaven And Hell, considered by many to be one of the finest heavy metal albums of all time.
His on-again, off-again tenure with Black Sabbath touched off an intense debate among fans as to which singer was the true essence of the band - a discussion that lasted until his death.
He also enjoyed a successful solo career with his self-titled band Dio.
Many of his most memorable songs revolved around the struggle between good and evil, including his signature tune Heaven And Hell. He also drew heavily on medieval imagery in songs like Neon Knights, Killing The Dragon and Stargazer.