R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio

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R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio
Metal legend Ronnie James Dio -- the original metal pioneer and former Black Sabbath frontman --  passed away at the age of 67 Sunday morning in Los Angeles. Dio's death was announced by his wife and manager, Wendy, on his website. It's a somber time for fans of the metal god, a man many credit for introducing them to the genre of heavy metal. Dio was best known for his work with bands Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Dio -- as well as his spearheading of the Hear 'n Aid effort towards famine relief in Africa. Dio had been struggling with stomach cancer since November of 2009, and while progress had been shown in defeating it, his illness ultimately forced the cancelation of Heaven and Hell's -- Dio's current band -- summer tour.

Dio's operatic, bombastic singing style endeared him to many, earning him the honor of being Black Sabbath's lead singer from 1979-1982 once Ozzy Osbourne was booted out of the band. His time with the iconic band was short, as he went on to form Dio, his most successful venture. Dio produced such hits as "The Last in Line" and "Holy Diver," solidifying Ronnie James Dio's provocative visual images for the Holy Diver album art, as well as the sci-fi/fantasy imagery in his music videos, something that can be accredited to Dio's lyrics.

Ronnie James Dio will forever be remembered for pioneering the "sign of the horns," also known as "devil horns." It's impossible to go to a rock concert now and not see at least one person flashing the iconic horns in appreciation of the music. Dio claims the gesture came from his Italian grandmother who would flash the gesture to ward off the evil eye. He began incorporating the gesture in his early days with Black Sabbath and the rest is history.

Respects for Ronnie James Dio will can be left at the metal pioneer's facebook page. Rest in peace, Ronnie James Dio. Heavy metal and rock music would be vastly different without your enormous influence.

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