The singer’s wife, Wendy Dio, made the announcement on her husband’s 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.”
A long time resident of the San Fernando Valley, Ronnie James Dio was known as a member of many bands, including Elf, Rainbow, and Dio. But he was perhaps best known for replacing Ozzy Osbourne as the lead singer of Black Sabbath in 1979. In 2006 Dio and other former Black Sabbath members re-formed as a group, calling themselves Heaven & Hell.
In the summer of 2009 the band was interviewed by the LA Weekly while gearing up for a tour to promote their new album, “The Devil You Know.” Dio spoke to the LAW about decades-long careers in metal he and his band mates have enjoyed:
“We stuck with it,” says Dio. “That gave us a connection with an audience that’s pretty unbreakable. You still don’t see the attention that Carrie Underwood, Susan Boyle or somebody else who did a karaoke program gets. Oh, you worked hard for that? Not like us, who have seen friends die of drug overdoses or get into accidents and beat up on the road.
“I’m a musician, I want to play,” he goes on. “That’s how my life has always been, and that’s how my life always will be.”
Photo by Steve Appleford.