Ronnie James Dio, one of the most influential musicians in the metal arena, passed away 10 years ago on this day. The metal icon gave in to stomach cancer and breathed his last at a hospital in Texas in 2010.
The tragic thing about the icon's demise is that his cancer could have been cured if diagnosed in time. Dio, the frontman's voice would live forever in the heart of metal heads, was 67 when he died.
Dio was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Italian-American parents from New York. He listened to a great deal of opera while growing up, and was influenced vocally by American tenor Mario Lanza. Despite being known for his high pitch voice, Dio claimed to have never received any vocal training. He credited his singing ability to the use of breathing techniques he learned while playing trumpet.
Originally named Padavona, the singer borrowed his stage name from an Italian mafia named Johnny Dio.
In the mid-1970s, Dio caught the attention of Ritchie Blackmore, the guitarist of Deep Purple. Blackmore invited Dio to sing for his new band "Richie Blackmore's Rainbow." The got along well and recorded three studio albums named "Richie Blackmore's Rainbow," "Rising," and "Long Live Rock n Roll." However, Dio parted ways with this band as Blackmore ventured into more commercial music.
After his departure from Rainbow, Dio fatefully joined Black Sabbath. As Sabbath fired their original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne at that time, they were looking for a new vocal. Dio joined Black Sabbath and went on to record some seminal works which is still regarded one of the best albums in metal music. But Dio did not settle with this band too. He left the band after conflict with the other members.
Years later, Dio reunited with his Black Sabbath band mates and toured under the moniker "Heaven and Hell."
An autobiography of Dio is slated to be released this year.