It's a little disquieting. The lions of hard rock, guys like Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Brian Johnson, Rob Halford, these monsters feel completely timeless, iconic, eternal. They simply shall not, will not, do not die. It's almost impossible to imagine a musical world without Robert Plant. No metal fan of any stripe can imagine a day when, say, Iron Maiden shuts it all down because Bruce Dickinson turned 85 and suddenly can't remember the lyrics to "Hallowed Be Thy Name." Metal revels in the raw energy and unchecked phantasmagorical ridiculousness of youth. It is all fire and testosterone and rebellious fantasy. It doesn't go well with reality.
So it is for hard rock and a guy like Dio, an elfin titan with an undying love for lasers and sorcery, dragons and kings. The man wrote some terribly corny metal songs, but he sang every one with a ferocity and love and total honesty. He also wrote some of the finest hard rock melodies of all time, sang them with a precision and love unmatched by any hard rock singer since. It's a rare thing to give metal some heartfelt props. It is time. Raise your devil horns and salute.
Metal ain't my cuppa tea and it doesn't matter whether I heard of him or not. The loss of a powerhouse of whatever genre is sad. Tempus fugits on. So long, Ronnie.