OZZY OSBOURNE Is 'Very Saddened' By RONNIE JAMES DIO's Death

Ozzy Osbourne has expressed his sadness over the death of Ronnie James Dio, the man that replaced him in BLACK SABBATH in 1980.

On Monday (May 17), Osbourne released the following statement:

"I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Ronnie James Dio. Metal has truly lost one of its greatest voices. My heart goes out to his family and to his many fans."

He added: "Love and respect."

Dio died of stomach cancer on the morning of Sunday, May 16, at the age of 67.

The singer, who was recording and touring with SABBATH offshoot HEAVEN & HELL prior to his illness, was diagnosed with stomach cancer late last year. He underwent chemotherapy and made what is now his final public appearance last month at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in Los Angeles.

HEAVEN & HELL recently canceled summer tour plans because Dio was not going to be well enough to tour.

The band released a new studio album in 2009, titled "The Devil You Know".

He replaced Ozzy Osbourne in BLACK SABBATH in 1980, recording the "Heaven & Hell" and "Mob Rules" albums, plus "Live Evil", before leaving in 1982. He rejoined the group 10 years later for an album called "Dehumanizer", and again teamed with the group under the HEAVEN & HELL banner in 2006.

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