Former MANOWAR guitarist Ross "The Boss" Friedman has released the following statement regarding the passing of legendary heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio (DIO, HEAVEN & HELL, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW):"Sunday, May 16th was a very sad day indeed for the music world. We lost Ronnie Dio, a great singer, songwriter performer and human being! "First, my deepest sympathies to Wendy [Dio's wife/manager] and his family. "He was always the sweetest person you could ever want to meet! Surely one of the greatest singers of all time! "My Dio story goes back to 1980 when I was in a band called SHAKIN' STREET. We were supporting BLACK SABBATH in the U.K. and North America. Two dates into the tour in England, I'm backstage and over comes Ronnie James Dio introduces himself to me!!! Believe that, wow! He started telling me he was a fan of my last band, THE DICTATORS, and he knew everything about us, CBGBs, and the New York rock scene. I couldn't believe it! But the thing was he was so gracious, classy and downright cool! Then he proceeds to tell me about this guy that was travelling with their genius technician Dawk Stillwell. His name was Joey DeMaio [MANOWAR] and he plays bass like you never heard and that I should meet him. Well, right after the conversation, he introduces me to Joey and I guess the rest is metal history! "Ronnie, R.I.P. brother."