R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio

Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. 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.

– Wendy Dio, ronniejamesdio.com

It’s strange. When the news hit that Dio was gone, I felt far sadder than I would have thought I would.

I remember, back in 2001, when Chuck Schuldiner‘s cancer returned I had just landed my first job and immediately rushed to the bank to wire some money over. I remember being outraged that trying to help people was something you got punished for: the banks charged about the same amount again that I had donated in fees. I, however, felt flush, having more money than ever before in my life, so figured that was a small price to pay for the life of someone whose music spoke more to me than most anything else in the world.

When Chuck died, I was shocked. I was angry, and I was sad, but I got over all of that quickly enough1.

Chuck’s music was important to me in ways that Dio’s music never was. Yes, some of his stuff is amongst my favourite music, but Death — and Control Denied — mean a lot more to me. Why then do I feel so much stronger about Dio’s passing?

Maybe it’s because I’m older. Maybe it’s because I have more to lose these days, and emphasize with loss a lot better. Maybe it’s because Dio was about the same age as my parents, and that drives home that they’re about the age where they might leave me soon.

Or maybe it’s because I only now realize how apt it was to call Dio the god father of Heavy Metal. He has shaped the music I love in ways few other people have.

May the 16th marks the end of an era.

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  1. Not quickly enough to be extremely tongue-tied when Devon Graves saw me wearing a Death shirt at some festival, and tried to talk to me about how Chuck was his friend. I didn’t know what to say. []