Legendary drummer Vinny Appice spoke to the WSOU radio station about Ronnie James Dio's last-ever concert, which took place on August 29, 2009 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The final show of HEAVEN & HELL's "The Devil You Know" tour "was the last time I ever played with Ronnie and it was the last performance of his life," Vinny said. "I remember we came offstage, and everything was cool. We played [BLACK SABBATH's] 'Neon Knights' as the encore.
"When I first joined [BLACK SABBATH] in 1980, I went down to audition with them and play with them," Appice continued. "I met Ronnie. I met Geezer [Butler, bass], and Tony [Iommi, guitar] I met the night before, and Geoff [Nicholls], the keyboard player. And the first song I chose to play was 'Neon Knights', 'cause I kind of knew it a little bit. So that was the first song I ever played with Ronnie, and it was the last song I played with Ronnie. And that was a whole 30-something-year journey between those songs — the same song. That's weird the way those things wind up."
Vinny went on to say that if anybody watches video footage of Ronnie's final concert on YouTube, "you can see that we were having fun playing together and you can see that Ronnie was really singing his ass off. Meanwhile, he was sick," Appice said. "He was only gonna last another probably six or seven months after that. He was singing with actual stomach cancer. It didn't bother him. He just did what he loved. He sang great. He was a trooper."
Ronnie James Dio lost his life to stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, in May 2010. The disease often does not cause symptoms until its later stages. Usually, by the time stomach cancer is diagnosed, the prognosis is poor.
Dio was renowned throughout the world as one of the greatest and most influential vocalists in heavy metal history. The singer was diagnosed with stomach cancer in late 2009. He underwent chemotherapy and made what is now his final public appearance in April 2010 at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in Los Angeles.