Ronnie James DioThe metal world lost a legend on Sunday when Ronnie James Dio succumbed to his battle with cancer. As someone so succinctly posted on my Facebook page, Dio and Type O Negative's Peter Steele are up in heaven with Dimebag Darrell throwing one hell of a heavy metal party.

So many metalheads were deeply affected by Dio's loss. He was a man with a huge voice, and he is credited with starting the 'metal horns.' Noisecreep gathered comments from Slayer's Kerry King, Anthrax's Joey Belladonna, Charlie Benante and Scott Ian and Tenacious D's Kyle Gass and these reminiscences are enough to bring a torrent of tears to your eyes. Dio was truly universally loved. His voice will always live as a beacon of light in our blackened metal hearts.

Slayer guitarist Kerry King said, "I feel lucky to have known R.J.D. ... from the time I was a teenager listening to 'Man on the Silver Mountain' to more recently meeting a huge hero of mine as a member of Black Sabbath and Heaven & Hell. Few people have had the ability to carry a song like Dio. Literally demanding your attention as he effortlessly recreated live the amazing things he did on record. It's odd how things get taken from you quickly ... I just saw him a month ago. I know I was lucky to have known Ronnie. One of the nicest guys in the business without a doubt. He will be hugely missed."

Anthrax's recently returned vocalist Joey Belladonna revealed that Dio was an inspiration, saying, "Ronnie was a big inspiration, influence and dear friend of mine. He was a true gentleman and a kind hearted individual. He always would go out of his way to make you feel welcome and important. Without a doubt, he was one of the best, top notch and a class act. I will truly miss him."

Drummer Charlie Benante of Anthrax commented from a touching, fan-first perspective, saying, "The first time I heard Ronnie James Dio, I thought he was a large person, The voice was so huge. It was Rainbow and he was the singer. I was a fan of his from then on. I followed him with Rainbow, Sabbath, Dio, etc. From 'Man on the Silver Mountain,' 'Heaven and Hell,' 'Rainbow in the Dark,' the songs are endless. The sound of his voice with those bands was always so perfect. It was his god-given instrument. He was true metal and the creator of the metal hand sign. Thank you for the music. He was divine."

Scott Ian of Anthrax recalled that RJD was "the nicest man in metal. Every day on tour, he'd have a kind word, a smile and a clap on the back. I feel honored and privileged to even have shaken hands with Ronnie let alone be able to say we were friends. The world truly is a lesser place today. Long live rock 'n' roll."

Also, Kyle Gass of Tenacious D weighed in on this tragic loss, saying, "Dio was a great inspiration for us and one of the nicest and most gracious people we've been lucky enough to work with. His talent and spirit will be missed." Dio appeared as his own bad ass self in 2006's 'The Pick of Destiny,' in which Gass starred with his Tenacious D cohort, Jack Black.

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