Ronnie James Dio Remembered By Rob Zombie, Mastodon, Others

'He will forever be imitated but he will never be duplicated,' Zombie says of metal icon.

Rob Zombie, Killswitch Engage, Mastodon and Fear Factory have released statements to MTV News as the heavy metal community continues to mourn the loss of Ronnie James Dio . The legendary and iconic vocalist passed away after a battle with stomach cancer early Sunday morning. He was 67.

“It is a very sad day for the world of metal when an artist as unique and special as Ronnie James Dio leaves us,” Zombie said in an e-mail to MTV News. “He will forever be imitated but he will never be duplicated.”

In 2006, Killswitch Engage offered up a loving imitation of their own, unleashing a cover of Dio’s “Holy Diver,” which became a staple of their live sets. A medieval-themed music video for their version, which received regular airplay on MTV2′s “Headbangers Ball,” featured all of the band members in character as people who could have been lifted right out of Dio’s lyrics. Guitarist Joel Stroetzel played a wizard.

“Since my childhood, Dio has always been a hero,” Stroetzel told MTV News. “He was the definition of metal. His solo work, his work with Black Sabbath — he always inspired me. I will continue to be infinitely thankful for all of the music he has created over the years. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten. God bless.”

“Holy Diver,” “Rainbow in the Dark” and “The Last in Line” are just a few of the classic songs Dio recorded with his solo band. He was equally beloved for his work with Rainbow and Black Sabbath. One of the many fans of Dio-led Sabbath albums like Mob Rules is Burton C. Bell, vocalist for Fear Factory.

“Dear Ronnie James Dio,” Bell said in a statement. “Thank you for your wisdom, your inspirational words, and your spiritual vision. In my youth, your voice and music had a major impact on my mind, and introduced me to the beauty and power of the dark arts. Your voice will always resonate within me.”

Another contemporary American metal band, Mastodon, prepared a group statement released exclusively to MTV News: “There are only a few names that ring synonymous with heavy metal, and Ronnie James Dio is one of them. So to find out that a true pioneer of our genre had passed on was devastating to say the least. Thank you, Ronnie James Dio, for your unbelievably powerful voice, your dedication to your fans and for paving the way for generations of aspiring musicians, present and future. The horns will live on forever!”

Lars Ulrich of Metallica as well as Dio’s bandmates Tony Iommi and Ritchie Blackmore previously released statements regarding Dio’s passing.

Ronnie James Dio (born Ronald James Padavona) is survived by his wife and manager Wendy, son Daniel, grandchildren Julie and Joey, and father Pat.

Share your memories of Ronnie James Dio and his musical legacy in the comments below.