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.
Terribly saddened by the news of Vinnie Paul's passing. Vinnie was a beloved fixture in the rock and metal communities and we will miss seeing him out on the road. His impact on heavy music is immeasurable. Rest In Peace Vinnie, condolences to your family, friends and fans. — Alice Cooper (@alicecooper) June 23, 2018
Rock in peace Vinnie Paul Say hi to brother Dime from all of us We love you . Wish you were still here. Gone too soon man . Thanks for the music. And more importantly 30 years of non stop friendship. How rare is that In this business? I'm really gonna miss you pic.twitter.com/LUY41pzC0l — Sebastian Bach (@sebastianbach) June 23, 2018
I just woke up in Belgium to the news that my friend Vinnie Paul has passed away. Another metal hero taken too soon. Say hello to Daryl for me. Rest In Peace, my dear friend. @Pantera @hellyeahband #vinniepaul — Dave Mustaine (@DaveMustaine) June 23, 2018
So sad to hear of the death of Vinnie Paul. Loved when Pantera did shows with us and in later years Vinnie was always front and center at all KISS shows. RIP and condolences to his family. https://t.co/DaQREBNVW7 — Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) June 23, 2018
RIP Vinnie Paul, such a sad day..what a loss for the rock and metal community, such a legend.. pic.twitter.com/7pGygJqw01 — Mark Tremonti (@MarkTremonti) June 23, 2018
RIP Vinnie Paul.
My condolences go out to his family. We will miss him. May he rest in peace. - Wendy Dio — Official Dio (@OfficialRJDio) June 23, 2018
Rest In Peace, Vinnie Paul. ️ pic.twitter.com/nihwxcCEU8 — GWAR (@gwar) June 24, 2018
RIP Vinnie Paul. He and his brother were always so kind to me. Now they're together forever. pic.twitter.com/NmcAIgtzkf — greg dulli (@MrGregDulli) June 23, 2018
So sorry to hear about passing of Vinnie Paul. Such an incredible force & influence in metal. I remember literally stopping song Becoming 1st time I played it on radio, opening the mic & freaking our over his drumming on air. How many drummers make somebody do that? #RIPVinnie — Dee Snider (@deesnider) June 23, 2018