As the rock world continues to mourn the death of metal icon Ronnie James Dio, famous friends and admirers are sharing memories of the former Elf, Rainbow and Black Sabbath singer.
“He was a huge influence and was probably one of the key heavy metal singers of all time” Slash tells Rolling Stone. “He is seriously going to be missed.” Watch Slash’s tribute to Dio above.
After news of Dio’s death broke, Kiss and Pearl Jam celebrated his life with in-concert tributes. In the days that followed, Dio was memorialized by those who knew him best: his Black Sabbath bandmates.
“He was much more than a friend, fellow musician, bandmate,” Geezer Butler wrote on his official site. “If I have a soul, then he is part of it. I truly believe God, fate, destiny, whatever it’s called, brought us together again in 2006, after not seeing each other for 14 years, to do one final tour, which turned into 3 major tours and an album. We were having a blast together, enjoying each other’s company more than we had ever done before, talking about maybe doing one more album, when fate intervened again. We decided to cut the tour, get healthy, and carry on the following year. I saw [Ronnie] at the Dio Halloween party, but he wasn’t drinking, unusual for Ronnie who liked his tipple. He was telling me he had made an appointment with a specialist, to see what it was…”
Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, who also performed with Dio in Heaven and Hell, wrote in a statement on his official site, “Ronnie was one of the nicest people you could ever meet, we had some fantastic times together. Ronnie loved what he did, making music and performing on stage. He loved his fans so much. He was a kind man and would put himself out to help others. I can honestly say it’s truly been an honor to play at his side for all these years, his music will live on forever. Our thoughts are with Wendy Dio who stood by Ronnie until the end, he loved her very much. The man with the magic voice is a star amongst stars, a true professional. I’ll miss you so much my dear friend.”
Ozzy Osbourne, who was replaced by Dio in Black Sabbath, offered a short condolence statement, too. “I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Ronnie James Dio,” Ozzy said. “Metal has truly lost one of its greatest voices. My heart goes out to his family and to his many fans.” A few months prior to Dio’s death, Rolling Stone spoke with Ozzy about Dio’s poor health. “It’s really sad,” he told us then. “I’m sorry to hear it, it must be really fucking scary for the poor boy.”
Drummer Vinny Appice, who joined Black Sabbath before the Dio-era Heaven and Hell Tour and later featured on some of Dio’s greatest albums, including 1983’s Holy Diver, remembered his friend in a personal letter on his official website: “I never thought the day would come so suddenly. Ronnie was everything to me. He was my best friend, he was my brother. Every night he sent chills down my spine with his singing, inspiring me to push it further and play the best I can to the limit. I always knew how lucky I was to be in a band with him, but to become friends was even more special. I can only think of how fortunate I was to make music with him that was in his heart. Music that will remain to be listened to by all his fans all over the world, whom he adored and loved! Ronnie I love you man!”