Who sadly died yesterday...
Scott Colothan

12:19 17th May 2010

Download Festival are paying tribute to Ronnie James Dio by naming a stage after him.

The 67-year-old Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Heaven & Hell legend lost his battle with stomach cancer on Sunday.

In response to the sad news, organisers of Download Festival are renaming the Second Stage at this year’s festival The Ronnie James Dio Stage in an ultimate tribute.

The stage will be jointly sponsored by Metal Hammer magazine and Scuzz TV.

In a second tribute, Download will also be renaming the main stage The Maurice Jones Stage in honour of the co-founder of the Monsters Of Rock festival at Donington.

Jones passed away last year and with 2010 marking the 30th anniversary of rock music at Donington Park, it takes on extra poignancy.

Headlined by AC/DC, Rage Against The Machine and Aerosmith, Download Festival takes place on June 11 – 13.

Ronnie James Dio RIP - A Career Retrospective:
  • Ronnie James Dio was born Ronald James Padavona in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on July 10, 1942. He was an only child.

  • As a child, Dio experimented with a multitude of different instruments, including trumpet, before becoming lead singer of a band called The Vegas Kings (later changed to Ronnie And The Red Caps) at high school.

  • The singer changed his name to Dio in homage to the mafia member Johnny Dio.

  • Dio’s first taste of real success came when his band Elf opened for Deep Purple in 1961. His vocals impressed Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who when he left the band formed Rainbow with Dio and the other members of Elf. (He he is pictured with Iron Maiden's Nico McBrain).

  • 5 Dio recorded four albums with Rainbow before leaving due to creative differences.

  • He went on to achieve huge recognition as the replacement vocalist for Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath, recording the album ‘Heaven And Hell’.

  • During his time with the band, Dio popularized the ‘Devil’s Horns’ gesture, which he claimed had been inspired by his grandmother.

  • Dio was replaced as Black Sabbath’s singer by former Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan in 1983, but he returned to the band briefly in 1992 to record ‘Dehumanizer’.

  • Dio performed throughout the 90s in various guises, but committed to his next project in 2006 when he joined former Black Sabbath members Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice in Heaven and Hell.

  • 10 Ronnie James Dio was diagnosed with stomach cancer in November 2009. He died on May 16 2010 at 7.45am.

  • 11 Dio’s second wife and former manager, Wendy, said in a statement: “Today my heart is broken, Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes before he peacefully passed away. Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all. We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us.”

  • Tributes have flooded in from around the music world. Kiss said: "In addition to his powerhouse vocal ability, Ronnie was a true gentleman who always emanated great warmth and friendship to us and everyone around him. We Will Miss Him.”

  • Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx, who toured with Dio in Europe, wrote on Twitter: “Rest in Peace Ronnie. You inspired millions of us”

  • Ronnie James Dio - 1942 - 2010

Photo: WENN.com