The 'Holy Diver' has taken his final swim - 5/16/2010.
I grew up in the 80s - class of '87... The music of the era for white kids was big and loud - punk, hair rock, and heavy metal.
Though I've acquired a finer taste for heavy metal over time - there's no denying how influential bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Rob Zombie and Metallica were in the 80s. Without exception each of these bands, and a myriad of others, pay homage to the music and vocal stylings of Ronnie James Dio (RJD.)
Like the music or not, Dio is recognized as a pioneer in the heavy metal and progressive metal genres - first with Rainbow, then for a while with Black Sabbath and then as a solo artist. When asked about the 'dark' nature of his lyrics, he once said something like, "you can't fully embrace the light unless you've experienced some darkness."
And he seems to have had a heart for moving people toward the light. He and his wife founded the organization 'Children of the Night' which helps adolescent runaways, sexual abuse victims and prostitutes in Los Angeles get off the streets and reenter society.
So rest well 'King of Rock and Roll' - musician, husband, father, grandfather, son, and inspiration to many musical innovators around the world.