Ozzy Osbourne sent encouragement to RONNIE JAMES DIO immediately after learning of his cancer battle - because it reminded him of the moment his wife SHARON was diagnosed with the disease.
Osbourne, who Dio replaced in Black Sabbath in 1979, admits he was sad after learning the rocker had stomach cancer as the ordeal brought back memories of his wife's own struggle with colon cancer in 2002.
He says, "As soon as I heard he had been diagnosed with cancer, I sent him some encouragement. Having been through that situation myself with Sharon when we were doing (reality TV show) The Osbournes, it's always somebody over there (distant).
"When it lands at your doorstep you're like, 'What do you do? How do you get round this?' When Sharon got cancer, I'd never known anyone who survived. I thought it was bulls**t when they told you, 'They can survive.' I just thought they were trying to smooth me over. And she got over it."
Sharon was ultimately given the all-clear, but the heavy metal legend succumbed to cancer on Sunday (16May10) - and Osbourne is hopeful Dio received his well wishes before passing.
He adds, "I didn't get a chance to see him but I was talking to the drummer Vinny (Appice), and I said, 'Did he get my message?' 'I don't know,' he said. And I said, 'Well, tell him to keep up the fight.' Then on the weekend, we heard he had passed away, which is sad. He had a great voice.
"People thought that me and him were at war. At first, I suppose a bit of theatrics would be involved, but I mean it's been 30 years."