Heaven & Hell frontman Ronnie James Dio (pictured second right) died earlier today, following a short battle with stomach cancer. He was 67 years old.
"Today my heart is broken," reads an official statement released by his wife and manager, Wendy. "Many, many friends and family were able to say their private goodbyes 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," it continues. "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."
Ronnie, who fronted Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell and Dio during his 53-year career, was diagnosed with stomach cancer in November last year.
Earlier this month, Heaven & Hell - whose line-up was completed by guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Vinny Appice - cancelled their summer touring plans as it was revealed that the vocalist was not well enough.
"I've been in total shock I just can't believe he's gone," said Tony in an official statement. "Ronnie was one of the nicest people you could ever meet, we had some fantastic times together. Ronnie loved what he did, making music and performing on stage. He loved his fans so much. He was a kind man and would put himself out to help others. I can honestly say it's truly been an honour to play at his side for all these years, his music will live on forever. Our thoughts are with Wendy Dio, who stood by Ronnie until the end - he loved her very much. The man with the magic voice is a star amongst stars, a true professional. I'll miss you so much my dear friend."
Everyone at Kerrang! would like to extend their deepest sympathies to his wife, family and friends at this deeply sad time.