By now you may or may not have heard. Metal icon and progenitor of the "horns" that we all hold so dear, Ronnie James Dio passed away Sunday morning, May 16th, 2010. His manager and wife of many years, Wendy Dio, released a brief statement, 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."
- Wendy Dio
I'm at a loss. Dio, as we all know, meant more to heavy metal than all but a few select individuals. He helped shape it in sound, in presentation, in legacy, in attitude and just maybe, in humor. He was one of the pillars of all that the heavy metal community holds dear. It's up to us as fans to be sure that our memories keep that pillar from tumbling.
For myself, I had the pleasure of seeing the man perform once, with Heaven and Hell, on a bill with Motorhead, Testament, and Judas Priest. Even in his middle sixties, Dio was a performer of unique joy and boundless enthusiasm. He could easily capture and entertain massive crowds. It was a privilege to watch and proof positive that the music in his soul never diminished, and that we shouldn't ever think of ourselves as "passed-by."
Dio now gets to make music with Les Paul, Peter Steele, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis, Dimebag Darrell, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and all the other greats.
Rest easy, Dio. You'll be missed.