It is with a heavy heart that we here at Roadrunner UK post the news that yesterday (May 16th) at 7.45am, HEAVEN & HELL vocalist Ronnie James Dio passed away after losing his battle with cancer. Having worked with Dio during the promotion of ‘The Devil You Know’, we came to know Ronnie as not only the heavy metal legend, but also as a warm hearted, genuine, fun person and we are deeply, deeply saddened to hear of his passing. We send our deepest sympathies to his family, band-mates and friends and especially to Wendy Dio.
It was Wendy who yesterday broke the news of Ronnie’s passing, posting the following statement on the Official Dio Website:
“Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. 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”.
Today, band-mate and guitarist Tony Iommi posted a statement on his website voicing his “total shock” at Ronnie’s passing:
“I just can’t believe he’s gone. Ronnie was one of the nicest people you could ever meet, we had some fantastic times together. Ronnie loved what he did, making music and performing on stage. He loved his fans so much. He was a kind man and would put himself out to help others. I can honestly say it’s truly been an honor to play at his side for all these years, his music will live on forever.” (
Ronnie’s musical legacy obviously encompasses not only his work with Heaven & Hell, but also Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath and his own band Dio. His career includes three truly classic Metal albums – Rainbow ‘Rising’, Black Sabbath ‘Heaven And Hell’ and Dio ‘Holy Diver’. As well as being heralded as one of (if not the) most powerful voice in heavy metal, he is also widely credited with originating the ‘devil horns’ hand gesture many of us hold aloft at the gigs we attend.
It was late last year, shortly after we last saw Ronnie at Sonisphere, that Wendy informed us and his fans that Dio had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. We all looked to the future and Ronnie making a full recovery and heading back to the UK for High Voltage. None of us believed that someone so full of life and passion could be struck down so cruelly. It’s a devastating loss.
Goodnight Ronnie James Dio. Rest In Peace.
July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010.
Yesterday also saw the death of another heavy metal legend- Debbie Abono, who lost her battle with cancer. She was 80 years old. Debbie was not someone in the limelight and may not be known to many, but she was the managerial and promotional powerhouse behind such bands as Possessed, Exodus, Vio-Lence and Skinlab and one of the first female heavy metal managers. She was very highly regarded in the heavy metal community and very close to many in the Bay Area scene. Our sincere condolences go out to her family and all who knew her.