Black Sabbath and Rainbow frontman Ronnie James Dio has lost his battle with stomach cancer and passed away yesterday morning.

False reports emerged before Dio's death, to which his wife Wendy replied via Twitter, "Don’t believe the rumors, Ronnie is still hanging in there ... I am at the hospital and Ronnie has NOT passed away!!!! He is not doing good, but he is not dead."

Sadly, it was not long before Wendy Dio made the following announcement on her husband's official website announcing that he had indeed passed at the age of 67.
"Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes 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. 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."

The heavy metal legend also sang with Elf, his own band Dio, and had most recently been performing with supergroup Heaven & Hell. Heaven & Hell were recently forced to cancel support slots to Iron Maiden, including their forthcoming July date at The O2 in Dublin, due to Ronnnie's deteriorating health.

Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi admitted, "I've been in total shock. I just can't believe he's gone. He loved his fans so much. He was a kind man and would put himself out to help others. I'll miss you so much my dear friend".

Tributes have been coming in from across the Rock 'n' Roll world, a few of which can be read below:

"Ronnie 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 & roll." - Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian

"We mourn the tragic passing of the great Ronnie James Dio. In addition to his powerhouse vocal ability, Ronnie was a true gentleman who always emanated great warmth and friendship to us and everyone around him. We will miss him." - Kiss

"Ronnie was a true gentleman, and obviously one of the best rock singers there will ever be. What a sad loss today." - Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan