Wendy Dio, wife/manager of legendary heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio (DIO, HEAVEN & HELL, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW), has released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET:
"Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45 a.m. [on Sunday] 16th May. 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 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."
It was only a month ago that Dio, 67, spoke about his battle with cancer with the Artisan News Service on the "black carpet" of the Revolver Golden Gods Awards, which took place on April 8 at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles. When asked about how he had been feeling since he was diagnosed with the disease late last year, Dio said, "Well, I feel good and bad at times. It's a long process. Chemotherapy is a... I never realized what a difficult thing it was to go through. It's a real cumulative effect — the more you have, the more it piles up on top and it takes longer and longer to get over it. I find it very difficult to eat. I don't like to eat anyway, so I guess that's OK. But I know I have to. But this makes it very, very hard. But if you're determined to beat it, then you have to go with what you believe is going to beat it for you, and in this case it's that. I go to a great hospital in Houston called M.D. Anderson, which I think is the best hospital in the world, I have the best doctor in the world, Dr. Ajani, who I really trust and I really believe in, so I think I've done all the right things. It makes me feel positive about my life and positive that there is a lot more of it to live."
Earlier this month, HEAVEN & HELL canceled its summer tour plans in Europe due to Dio's treatment for stomach cancer. The band said in a statement that Dio wasn't "well enough to tour this summer. We hope that everyone understands and want to thank fans and industry colleagues for their continuing support at this time."
Born Ronald James Padavona in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Ronnie James Dio had performed with ELF, RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH, and his own band DIO. Other musical projects included the collective fundraiser "Hear 'n Aid". He is widely hailed as one of the most powerful singers in heavy metal, renowned for his consistently powerful voice and for popularizing the "devil's horns" hand gesture in metal culture. He was most recently involved with HEAVEN & HELL, a project which also included former BLACK SABBATH bandmates Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice. Their first and only studio album, "The Devil You Know", was released on April 28, 2009.
In April, Dio appeared at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in Los Angeles to accept the award for "Best Vocalist." As members of ALICE IN CHAINS presented the award to him, the crowd chanted, "Dio! Dio! Dio! Dio!"
R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio