He is also widely credited for popularizing the "devil's horns" hand gesture, generally held high while headbanging.
Ronnie James Dio was born Ronaldo Giovanni Padovan in New Hampshire in July of 1942. He started using the name 'Dio' in 1961, in reference to mafia figure Johnny Dio, when he was playing with the band, Ronnie and the Redcaps.
Ronnie's most famous gig was perhaps replacing Ozzy Osbourne as the lead singer in Black Sabbath in 1979. He formed the band Dio in 1982 with drummer Vinny Appice. He was an influential member of many bands during his stellar career.
The comedy rock duo Tenacious D recorded a tribute song, "Dio," and he reciprocated by having Tenacious D appear in his video "Push." Contemporaries are remembering him today as one of the nicest and hardest working members of heavy metal's rock elite.
For More Hard Rocking:
The Dio Years by Black Sabbath
The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal foreword by Ronnie James Dio