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Former Black Sabbath Frontman Ronnie James Dio Dies at 67

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May 17 2010, Published 7:45 a.m. ET

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Heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio died yesterday after a battle with stomach cancer. The legend was 67.

Ronnie's wife, Wendy, broke the news today on Ronnie's official website.

"Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May," his wife wrote (via PopEater). "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. Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss. Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever."

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Ronnie first announced his cancer last November and was expected to take part in this summer's Heaven & Hell tour, according to PopEater.

Ronnie got his big break when he was recruited by Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore to form Rainbow in 1975.

He quickly left the band in 1979 and to join Black Sabbath as a replacement for Ozzy Ozbourne. Ronnie's first album with Black Sabbath was famed heavy metal record Heaven & Hell released in 1980.

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He recorded two additional albums with Black Sabbath Mob Rules and Live Evil before leaving the group.

Many also credit Ronnie for creating the devil horns hand gesture.

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