Heavy metal rocker Ronnie James Dio died Sunday morning after a battle with stomach cancer, his wife announced.
"Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45 a.m. 16th May," Wendy Dio said in a message posted on his official website.
Dio, 67, followed Ozzy Osbourne as Black Sabbath's lead vocalist in 1979.
"Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes before he peacefully passed away," she wrote. "Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all."
Born Ronald James Padavona in 1942, Dio's professional music career began as a high school student in the late 1950s.
His 1960s rock group The Electric Elves evolved into Elf by the early 1970s, when the group played heavy blues rock.
Dio's rock became darker with his band Rainbow, which he left in 1979 to join Black Sabbath.
Black Sabbath released three albums with Dio, including "Heaven and Hell" in 1980, "Mob Rules" in 1981 and "Live Evil" in 1982.
Dio left that band in 1982, but he had a brief reunion with the group a decade later. He formed the group Dio in 1982. The group continued to perform until his illness.
His last public appearance was in April at the Revolver Golden GodsÂ Awards when he accepted a vocalist of the year award his work on lastÂ year's Heaven and Hell album. Dio appeared frail, but he was able toÂ speak when accepting his award.