Tragic rocker RONNIE JAMES DIO's cancer death could have been avoided, according to his HEAVEN & HELL and Black Sabbath bandmate GEEZER BUTLER.
The bassist wishes his pal had seen a doctor earlier - because Dio would still be alive if he had.
Butler tells AOL's Noisecreep, "All the doctors said if he'd have gone in a year earlier or two years earlier, they could have treated him.
"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."
And Butler reveals Dio had every opportunity to get checked early - bandmates Tony Iommi and drummer Vinny Appice both underwent routine colonoscopies to check for signs of colon and intestinal cancer in 2008.
He adds, "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'.
"If he'd have gone in at the same time as everyone else, they'd have caught it before the tour... (and) 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."
Dio lost his battle with cancer in May (10).