Ronnie Dio performing in 2008

Ronnie Dio plays IronFest in 2008

Metal vocalist Ronnie Dio, best known for his role as Black Sabbath’s lead vocalist, died t0day according to a posting from his wife.

Wendy Dio’s message read:

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…

Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss.

Dio repeated the post on Facebook, where she said people could leave their condolences by liking the page.  After just 12 hours, nearly a quarter-million people had done so.

Besides Sabbath (where he is credited with popularizing the devil horn gesture), Ronnie sang in the band Dio and a relationship with Jack Black led to his appearance in Tenacious D – The Pick of Destiny.

Ronnie Dio later formed Heaven & Hell with former Black Sabbath members, including Tommy Iommi, touring through multiple countries in 2008.

Wendy Dio announced last Thanksgiving that her husband had been diagnosed with stomach cancer.  Despite treatment at The Mayo Clinic, Dio was dead less than six months later at the age of 67.

Photo by Shadowgate via CC2