Legendary heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio, best known for his work with BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW and his own band DIO, died of stomach cancer one year ago on Monday (May 16) at the age of 67.
His wife and manager, Wendy Dio, who still oversees all projects and releases related to the career and music of her late husband, wanted to let the fans know that Ronnie's bandmates and close friends gathered at his resting place yesterday. She said, "We had a beautiful prayer service followed by everyone sharing their special memories of Ronnie."
Dio was renowned throughout the world as one of the greatest and most influential vocalists in heavy metal history. The singer, who was recording and touring with SABBATH offshoot HEAVEN & HELL prior to his illness, was diagnosed with stomach cancer in late 2009. He underwent chemotherapy and made what is now his final public appearance in April 2010 at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in Los Angeles.
A free public memorial service was held on May 30, 2010 at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, attended by more than 1,500 fans, friends and fellow musicians.
This past March, it was announced that the surviving members of the final lineup of DIO would embark on a project with former JUDAS PRIEST frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens under the name DIO DISCIPLES.
Ronnie James Dio, real name Ronald James Padavona, was born in New Hampshire on July 10, 1942.
He moved to Cortland, New York at a young age, where he began playing with local acts. A street in Cortland, Dio Way, was named after him in 1988.
He released his first single, with a band called RONNIE AND THE REDCAPS, in 1959.
His first heavy rock act, ELF, released three albums and opened for DEEP PURPLE, where Dio's voice caught the ear of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Blackmore recruited Dio for his own band, RAINBOW, after leaving PURPLE in 1975.
Dio recorded three studio albums and one live set with RAINBOW before exiting in 1978, including "Rising" and "Long Live Rock And Roll".
He replaced Ozzy Osbourne in BLACK SABBATH in 1980, recording the "Heaven And Hell" and "Mob Rules" albums, plus "Live Evil", before leaving in 1982. He rejoined the group 10 years later for an album called "Dehumanizer", and again teamed with the group under the HEAVEN & HELL banner in 2006. HEAVEN & HELL released an album called "The Devil You Know" in 2009.
He has also recorded 10 studio albums with his own band, DIO, including a classic 1983 debut, "Holy Diver", and an equally renowned follow-up, 1984's "The Last In Line".
Dio was also behind the HEAR N' AID project, a collection of metal artists who recorded the track "Stars" in 1985 to raise funds for African famine relief.