A public memorial for legendary heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio
, HEAVEN & HELL
, BLACK SABBATH
) will be held on the fifth anniversary of his death at his gravesite at Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills cemetery in Los Angeles. His wife and manager Wendy Dio
tells the “Maximum Threshold”
radio show: “Next year, the 16th of May will be five years [since] Ronnie
‘s passing, so we are inviting all the fans to come from all over the world. We’re gonna do a big public memorial up at Forest lawn in the Hollywood Hills. And we’ll have bands playing. It will be a celebration of Ronnie
‘s life. And the night before, we’re gonna do celebrity bowling. And we’re gonna do a ‘ride for Ronnie
‘ with motorcycles on the Sunday, which is on the 17th, and ending up with a barbecue in the park.”
Wendy also revealed that the fifth annual Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund awards gala will probably be held in October 2015. She added: “We’re raising money all the time for cancer. And we’ve raised over a million dollars, actually, since Ronnie passed, and we’ve given M.D. Anderson [Cancer Center in Houston, Texas] over $200,000, with Dr. Ajani — he was Ronnie‘s doctor, actually, and he’s a cancer specialist for stomach cancer. And we’ve also given T.J. Martell [Foundation] over $400,000 and that goes to gastric cancer, stomach cancer, prostate and colon cancers, and it goes to the Vanderbilt research center in Nashville. So we’ve been really busy raising money and giving money away to people, which is what we wanna do. We’re trying to also make sure that men get checked. Women are really good — they usually go to the doctors and get checked — men, you have to drag them there, so we’re trying to make sure that they get checked. Early detection saves lives, and they should get checked.”
According to Wendy, “Ronnie was a very charitable person, and we used to do a lot of things when Ronnie was alive. And I just have done more since he passed, because I wanted to make something of his passing — something positive to come out of it — and that’s how I feel. I feel that life has been good to me, and it’s always good to give back and raise money for different causes, and my causes are animals, cancer and veterans.”
Dio was renowned throughout the world as one of the greatest and most influential vocalists in heavy metal history. The singer, who was recording and touring with SABBATH offshoot HEAVEN & HELL prior to his illness, was diagnosed with stomach cancer in late 2009. He underwent chemotherapy and made what is now his final public appearance in April 2010 at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in Los Angeles.
A free public memorial service was held on May 30, 2010 at Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills cemetery in Los Angeles, attended by more than 1,500 fans, friends and fellow musicians.
In March 2011, it was announced that the surviving members of the final lineup of DIO would embark on a project with former JUDAS PRIEST frontman Tim “Ripper” Owens under the name DIO DISCIPLES.
Rock and metal musicians around the world paid tribute to Dio in the weeks and months following his death. STONE SOUR and SLIPKNOT frontman Corey Taylor shared his feelings with The Pulse Of Radio about the fallen metal icon. “When I got that news that he had passed away, man, it seriously — it broke my heart. It broke it in two. Because honestly, I just feel like there will never be another Ronnie James Dio. He had such a pure voice — and still singing his ass off. I just know he’ll be missed, and I will miss him as well.”
Ex-VAN HALEN and current CHICKENFOOT bassist Michael Anthony also shared his memories of Dio with The Pulse Of Radio. “I don’t know anybody that didn’t grow up listening to his stuff,” he said. “You know, VAN HALEN, we used to do from the first RAINBOW album, we did ‘Man On The Silver Mountain’. I remember one time, the second VAN HALEN tour we were doing some festivals in Europe, and we actually played on the same show as Ronnie’s band. Real powerful voice, you know, and definitely a driving force in hard rock music, that guy was.”
Slash told The Pulse Of Radio that he felt the loss of Dio very keenly. “He’s just somebody I was influenced by,” he said. ” I played all the RAINBOW stuff, I played the DIO stuff, the SABBATH stuff when I was in, you know, high school. I don’t think that it’s really set in what a, you know, huge figure in rock ‘n’ roll we lost, you know. Really major. Probably one of the most influential heavy metal singers of all time.”