In the wake of heavy-metal singer Ronnie James Dio’s death on Sunday, tributes have been pouring in from fans, bandmates and fellow musicians. Slash, Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx, Queen’s Brian May, the Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan and the members of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden are among the musicians who took to the Internet to honor Dio, who fronted Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell and, of course, his own band, Dio, over the course of his long career.
“Ronnie died at 7:45 a.m.,” Slash tweeted. “But his music will live for eternity.”
“I still have this image of him standing onstage in front of 100,000 belting out ’Man on the Silver Mountain’ and remember the shivers it sent up my spine,” said Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx, who became friends with Dio while touring Europe. “[Dio was] one of the kindest souls I have ever met, and his talent was beyond inspirational to so many of us.”
Billy Corgan took to Twitter: “R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio. I only got to meet him once and I can honestly say he was the nicest person I have ever met in music. … Ronnie was a true gentleman, and obviously one of the best rock singers there will ever be. What a sad loss.”
“It’s a shock to hear that Ronnie has gone,” Queen guitarist Brian May wrote in a post on his website. “Even though we had all known he was battling with cancer for some time, he was such a wiry fighter, and of such an amazingly optimistic nature, I think I assumed he would go on forever.
“[He] was one of the creators of the genre of heavy metal,” May continued. “I don’t know if he invented the devil-horn salute, but he was certainly the man who, more than ever, made it a universal symbol, a worldwide salute of metal. … He was universally loved in the community of rock music and will be sorely missed.”
The members of Iron Maiden called their longtime friend an “incredibly gifted singer” and “a wonderfully warm, intelligent and generous person” in a joint statement. “We played many shows together over the years, and we will all miss him greatly. … The world has lost an irreplaceable talent and, first and foremost, one of the finest human beings you could ever wish to meet.”
Judas Priest offered a message of sympathy for Dio’s widow, Wendy: “We are filled with great sadness at the terrible news about our friend Ronnie James Dio. Our condolences and love go to Wendy [Dio, Ronnie’s wife/manager] and Ronnie’s family. … Ronnie was a wonderful man and will be sorely missed.”
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