Ronnie James Dio dead at 67

Ronnie_James_DioRonnie James Dio, whose soaring vocals, poetic lyrics and mythic tales of a never-ending struggle between good and evil broke new ground in heavy metal, died Sunday, according to a statement from his wife and manager.

Dio revealed last summer that he was suffering from stomach cancer shortly after wrapping up a tour in Atlantic City, N.J. with the latest incarnation of Black Sabbath, under the name Heaven And Hell.

Dio rose to fame in 1975 as the first lead singer of Rainbow, the heavy metal band put together by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who had just quit Deep Purple.

Dio then replaced legendary vocalist Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath in 1980 with the critically acclaimed album “Heaven And Hell,” considered by many critics to be one of the finest heavy metal albums of all time.

He also enjoyed a successful solo career with his self-titled band, Dio, in between his three stints with Black Sabbath (1980-82; 1992; and 2007-2009, when the band toured as Heaven And Hell, to differentiate it from Osbourne-led versions of Sabbath). Many of his most memorable songs revolved around the struggle between good and evil, including his signature tune “Heaven And Hell.” He also drew heavily on medieval imagery in songs like “Neon Knights,” “Killing The Dragon” and “Stargazer.”

Dio organized an all-star charity collaboration in 1986 called “Hear N Aid” to raise money for famine relief in Africa, styled on the successful “We Are The World” campaign of a few years earlier. His solo hits included “Rainbow In The Dark, “The Last In Line” and “Holy Diver.”

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