RIP: Ronnie James Dio (1942-2010)

Best known as an original member of hard rockers Rainbow, and for his stint in Black Sabbath and Heaven and Hell, as well as fronting his own band since the '80s, vocalist Ronnie James Dio passed away on May 16th, after a tough battle with stomach cancer.

A powerful and distinctive vocalist, Dio's music career spanned half a century. But it wasn't until the mid-1970s when he joined forces with former Deep Purple guitarist Richie Blackmore in Rainbow that he reached an international audience. In 1980 he replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath and recorded two albums with the band: Heaven and Hell [Warner Bros-1980] and Mob Rules [Warner Bros-1981]. Last year the band Heaven and Hell--in actuality the early '80s Dio-fronted version of Black Sabbath, so named to avoid confusion with the Ozzy Osbourne-led version of Sabbath--released the critically acclaimed album The Devil You Know [Rhino] and toured successfully behind it. Dates for the summer of 2010, alongside Iron Maiden, were recently canceled due to the severity of Dio's illness.

After a bit of confusion and misinformation regarding his passing, Dio's wife and manager Wendy made the official announcement via Dio's website and Facebook page. He was 67 years old.

Our favorite Dio moments were during his stint with Black Sabbath, particularly from The Mob Rules: "Voodoo" and the title track.