Ronnie James Dio’s Cancer Charity Plans Star-Studded Virtual Fundraiser

The virtual event will take place on July 10, which would have been Dio’s 79th birthday.

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Photo: Fin Costello/Redferns

The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund will hold a star-studded virtual fundraiser on what would have been the heavy-metal firebrand’s 79th birthday, July 10.

In addition to archival footage of Dio from throughout his life, the event will feature guest performances, interviews, and birthday wishes from Tony Iommi, Dio and Black Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice, Lita Ford, Glenn Hughes, Anthrax’s Joey Belladonna, and Testament’s Chuck Billy, among many others. It will take place on at 5 p.m. ET.

The charity, which is selling merch associated with the event, will be offering signed copies of Rainbow in the Dark: The Autobiography, which Dio wrote with his widow and manager Wendy Dio and journalist Mick Wall, for sale on July 27.

A press release states that the book’s content will comprise “everything from his fallout with Ritchie Blackmore, the drugs that derailed the resurrection of Black Sabbath, the personality clashes that frayed each of his three bands, and the huge bet he and (wife) Wendy placed together to launch the most successful endeavor of his career…his own band, Dio.” The book also begins and ends at Madison Square Garden, which “represented the pinnacle of success” to the metal legend.

The livestream will feature appearances from Carmine Appice, Michael Angelo Batio, Gilby Clarke, Aynsley Dunbar, Jeff Pilson, Rudy Sarzo, Lajon Witherspoon, and others. Participating Dio band members include Simon Wright, Oni Logan, Scott Warren, Bjorn Englen, and Rowan Robertson. Dio producer Wyn Davis and Wendy Dio will also sit for interviews.

Since its foundation in 2011, a year after Dio’s death, the Cancer Fund has raised more than $2 million for cancer research.

Iommi recently reflected on Dio’s time in Black Sabbath in a Rolling Stone interview. “I’d heard Ronnie when Ritchie [Blackmore] put out the first Rainbow album [after he left Deep Purple],” he said. “Obviously, you’d say, ‘I wonder what Ritchie’s band’s like.’ I liked the album, and of course, I loved Ronnie’s voice, not thinking for a minute we’d ever end up together. He’s always had a real strong, powerful voice.”

For more information on the virtual fundraiser, visit the Rolling Live Studios website.

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