Los Angeles: Black Sabbath bassist Terry ‘Geezer’ Butler reminisced about his last moments with friend and bandmate Ronnie James Dio in a statement released Tuesday.
Also Tuesday, Dio`s family announced that a public memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. on May 30 in the Hall of Liberty at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills.
In his statement, Butler recounted his final days with the singer, who died May 16 of stomach cancer at age 67. The two performed together in Heaven and Hell, the latest incarnation of Black Sabbath.
Butler said he shared his last laugh and received his final e-mail from Dio on May 12, then went to visit him May 15 at the hospital along with "25 to 30 friends."
"We knew the end was imminent," Butler wrote. "We all wanted to say our goodbyes."
Butler said the day was filled with tears and reflection.
"In the evening, the chaplain came, and we all gathered around Ronnie`s bed and prayed," Butler wrote. "At 11 p.m., most of us left, leaving Wendy her privacy to say her last farewell. The devastation was palpable."
Butler added that Dio was a "special person, blessed with a unique voice and presence." He ended his statement thanking Dio "for the wonderful memories."
In addition to his wife, Wendy, Dio is survived by son Daniel, grandchildren Julie and Joey, and father Pat.