Saturday, January 8, 2011

Geezer Butler: Ronnie James Dio didn’t have to die

Seven months after his passing, Heaven & Hell/Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler is sharing some of the details behind Ronnie James Dio’s passing from stomach cancer.

"All the doctors said if he'd have gone in [for a checkup] a year earlier or two years earlier, they could have treated him," Butler told Noisecreep. "But by the time Ronnie was diagnosed, he had stage four cancer, which was inoperable. The doctor hinted that it was just a matter of time and there was nothing they could do."

Less than a year earlier, Heaven & Hell guitarist Tony Iommi and drummer Vinny Appice both underwent routine colonoscopies to check for signs of colon and intestinal cancer, and they were talking about the procedure in one of the band's rehearsals.

"Vinny had just had it done and he couldn't sit down on his drum stool, and I was making arrangements to have it done, and Ronnie was going, 'Oh, I'm never going to have anything like that,'" Butler said. "If he'd have gone in at the same time as everyone else, they'd have caught it before the tour. If he had regular check ups..."

Butler paused and took a deep breath, then continued. "All the doctors said if it had been stage one, they could have dealt with it. It's really upsetting to think about that, and hopefully it will encourage people who need to have a check up to get it done."

As always, talk to your health care professional for information and guidance about your particular health needs.

For more information, check out the National Cancer Institute (US), the Canadian Cancer Society, or the cancer authority in your country.

Black Sabbath – Die Young (1980)

See also:

Ronnie James Dio’s L.A. mansion up for sale
Black Sabbath’s Bill Ward reflects on 2010
Christmas message from Tony Iommi