February 22, 2019 / 10:14 AM

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Pantera Drummer Vinnie Paul Passes Away At 54



Vinnie Paul Abbott, the drummer and co-founder of Pantera, passed away at the age of 54. The cause of death has not been divulged.

The rocker died in his sleep inside his home in Las Vegas on Friday, June 22. The band confirmed the sad news through a post on Facebook on Saturday morning.

According to TMZ, Abbott's immediate family has turned over his body to the medical examiner to determine his cause of death. After that, he will be flown back to his hometown of Texas where he will be buried beside his mother and brother.

Vinnie Paul's Life And Career

Vinnie Paul launched a long and successful career as a rock star in 1981 when he formed the band Pantera with his brother, Darrell aka Dimebag Darrell, and friend Rex Brown. During their first decade, the band recorded three albums with Donnie Hart, Tommy Bradford, and Terry Glaze, but nothing seemed to stick. They recruited Phil Anselmo in 1987 and formed the band's classic and most popular lineup.

The men eventually hit the jackpot in 1990 when they signed to Atco, a subsidiary of Atlantic, to release Cowboys From Hell. Immediately after their first major-label debut album, Pantera became a frontrunner of the new age of metal.

By 1991, they were touring with heavyweights such as Judas Priest, AC/DC, and Metallica. 

The band released three more albums, including their lauded classic Vulgar Display of Power, before they finally disbanded in 2003 following a rift between the Abbott brothers and Anselmo.

Still bursting with ideas, Vinnie Paul and Darrell formed Damageplan and released the album New Found Power. However, what would have been an epic musical journey was cut short when a deranged fan shot Dimebag onstage in December 2004.

After two years, Vinnie Paul continued the good fight and formed the band Hellyeah with Chad Gray, Greg Tribbett of Mudvayne, Tom Maxwell and Jerry Montano of Nothingface. Damageplan's Bob Zilla replaced Montano shortly after. The superband released five albums, the most recent of which was Unden!able in 2016.

Franky Perez of APOCALYPTICA and Velvet Revolver told the Las Vegas Journal that Vinnie Paul was in the process of working on the next Hellyeah album before he died in his sleep this weekend.

"This is such a shock because he was so excited about finishing up the album and getting back on the road," said the musician. "I'm still trying to piece this together."

Heavy Metal World Pays Tribute To Vinnie Paul

Shortly after news of his death was revealed to the press, praises and tributes to the late rock icon flooded social media. His colleagues in the heavy metal scene remembered the renowned drummer and mused about his legacy in the music industry.

Brown, in a post on Facebook, thanked fans for the love and support following news of his friend/band mate's death. He, however, assured fans that he is doing well and urged his followers to pray for Vinnie Paul's dad, Jerry.

"No man should have to bury two incredible sons in one lifetime," he wrote in a comment on his post.

Maxwell of Hellyeah also wrote a lengthy message to fans on Facebook on Saturday morning. He said that he and the rest of the band are still in shock and despair over what happened, but they know that Vinnie Paul is in a better place now.

Fellow musicians and fans also expressed their grief and condolences via social media.

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