Vinnie Paul, drummer and co-founder of US heavy metal group Pantera, dead at 54

Vinnie Paul, whose full name was Vincent Paul Abbott, founded Pantera in 1981 with his younger brother, guitarist Darrell Abbott

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 June, 2018, 12:01pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 June, 2018, 12:01pm

Vinnie Paul, the hard-hitting drummer for Pantera, one of the most popular heavy metal groups of the 1990s, who saw his brother killed onstage by a fan in 2004, has died. He was 54.

The death was announced on Pantera’s Facebook page and confirmed to news outlets by Jane Hoffman, a spokeswoman for the defunct band.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that he died in Las Vegas on Friday. The cause was not immediately known, and an autopsy will be conducted.

Paul formed Pantera in 1981 with his brother, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, and went on to earn four Grammy nominations and a No 1 album in the US in 1994.

The band disbanded in 2003 following reports of a rift in the group and its singer’s intention to leave.

Pantera’s platinum-selling album Vulgar Display of Power is considered one of the most influential heavy metal albums of the 90s, having sold more than 2 million copies.

Paul and his brother Darrell Abbott, formed a new band Damageplan in 2004 after Pantera disbanded, but Darrell was murdered by a gunman during a concert in Columbus, Ohio later that year.

Paul was not injured in the attack, but he stopped performing for more than a year.

“I spent about eight months in a really, really, really dark place, just having no clue where to turn, what to do, what I was supposed to do next,” he said in 2006.

“I felt like the music in my heart was just gone; it had just went away.”

Tributes started to pour in as news of Paul’s death spread on social media.

KISS singer Paul Stanley took to Twitter and expressed his condolences.

“So sad to hear of the death of Vinnie Paul,” the legendary rocker tweeted.

“Loved when Pantera did shows with us and in later years Vinnie was always front and centre at all KISS shows. RIP and condolences to his family.”

Megadeath frontman Dave Mustaine was also saddened to hear about the death, tweeting: “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.”

The Eleven Seven Music label, whose roster includes Hellyeah, called Paul an “inspiration” in a statement Saturday.

“Vinnie Paul Abbott wasn’t just a drummer, he was an iconic fixture in the metal and hard rock community, a pioneer, and an absolute legend,” the statement read.

“Today, the world not only lost a legend, but also a genuine human being who lived to put a smile on the faces of everyone he met.”

The Washington Post, The Guardian, Tribune News Service