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
He was born Ronald James Padavona on July 10, 1942, in Portsmouth, N.H., and raised in New York. He once said he would have preferred playing for the Yankees to a life in rock music. He started his career with local bands such as the Vegas Kings.
His career took off in 1975 when he joined Rainbow. Dio had been playing with Elf, a band originally called the Electric Elves, but after guitarist Ritchie Blackmore quit Deep Purple, he brought most of the band into Rainbow.
"With a guy who played guitar like Ritchie … and had this dark demeanor, it was perfect for me to get into a place where I could start writing darker and heavier things that I always wanted to do," he told the Press & Sun-Bulletin of Binghamton, N.Y, in 2007.
Many of Dio's most memorable songs revolved around the struggle between good and evil, including "Heaven and Hell." He also drew heavily on medieval imagery in such songs as "Neon Knights," "Killing The Dragon" and "Stargazer."
RJD was and is one of my all time favorite vocalists of all time I have fond memories listening to his music throughout my life and I will be doing a special tribute during my radio program on Tuesday May 18th 2pm on Free Radio Santa Cruz 101fm I will be featuring music from his long career from Ronnie Dio and the Prophets, Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio to his latest project Heaven & Hell.
Rest In Peace Ronnie James Dio