The former Rainbow, Heaven & Hell and Black Sabbath singer (he repleaced Ozzy Ozbourne in Sabbath) was one of heavy metal’s true greats, with a distinct and iconic vocal. With his self-named own band Dio, he recorded several memorable hits including “Holy Diver” and “Rainbow in the Dark”. Dio is also credited for popularizing the ‘devil horns’ hand gesture among the metal and rock community.
Dio’s wife and manager Wendy Dio paid tribute on a message on the artist’s official website, saying: “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.”
Dio was born Ronald James Padavona and came from an Italian-American family in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It is said that Ronnie got the inspiration to change his name from a mobster called Johnny Dio.