May 16th, 2010
06:56 PM ET

Metal rocker Ronnie James Dio has died, wife says

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 Gods  Awards when he accepted a vocalist of the year award his work on last  year's Heaven and Hell album. Dio appeared frail, but he was able to  speak when accepting his award.

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  1. Matthew

    I saw Dio play with Motorhead and Iron Maiden in 2003. Ronnie had the best stage charisma of anyone else in the building that evening. What a show, what a man, what a legacy.

    Horns up Ronnie James Dio. RIP

    May 16, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. panmankey

    Dear CNN Fact Checkers, Dio recorded four albums with Black Sabbath. The fourth one was "Dehumanizer" and was released in 1992. That version of Black Sabbath recently released a live album as "Heaven and Hell" and a studio album just last summer.

    Dio was the greatest singer in the history of heavy metal. He will be missed. \m/

    May 16, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ben

    Pure talent died today. It's terrible news for all metal fans. He was a true great and his music and the legend will live forever.

    May 16, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. anthony

    Rip man \m/

    May 16, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Eric Schultz

    One of the best voices in rock,not just metal was taken from us today. Rest in peace Ronnie. We will continue to ROCK.

    May 16, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kacey

    RIP Ronnie James!! You were one of the few theatriacal rock vocalists!! Love you man!

    May 16, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Robjas

    One of the greatest rock singers ever! Rest in peace Ronnie. You will be missed.

    May 16, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Javier


    May 16, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Michael


    May 16, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Elaine Matthews

    Heavy Metal has lost the best...Ronnie James Dio...a short guy with a huge heart....sad:(

    May 16, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. malfie

    RIP Ronnie James Dio, you were a true legend, you are loved by many and you will not be forgotten. Condolences and prayers to your wife and family, may they have the strength to deal with your loss. Thanks for the wonderful music, the two Heaven and Hell concerts I saw last year were fantastic and you and the band were at the top of your game.

    May 16, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Johan

    You will be in our metalhearts forever. Thank You for your gifts. R.I.P.

    May 16, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Amsty

    R.I.P Sad day for Rock & Roll!

    May 16, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Vics

    So terribly sorry to hear of the sad news. He was a talented musician who will be very missed.

    Codolences to Wendy and his family

    May 16, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. T.R.

    Seen R.J.D. over 60 times in concert. So impressed with the master of vocals. Last year i took my twin 10 year old boys to see Heaven and Hell tour In Colorado. They both already play guitar and rum and have for 3 years. Both my boys have taken up singing along with there instruments because they were so impressed by Ronnie. Ronnie a consumate artist put on an amazing show. It so impressed my kids as it did when i was young. Ronnie may your soul rest in peace. To the family of Ronnie James Dio i hope that you hold strong and are able to remember the good times and how he has influenced not only myself and my children but entire music world. He will be deeply missed.

    May 16, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
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