Vinnie Paul’s girlfriend, Chelsey Yeager, thanked her social media followers for their support after the Pantera and Hellyeah drummer died in his sleep age 54. Her comments came as tributes from across the rock and metal worlds continued to mount.

In an Instagram post published before she turned her account private, Yeager said, “I want to thank each & every one of you guys for sending your love! Please please give me & all of our family/friends time. I can't begin to describe the pain in my heart from this nightmare... I have absolutely no other words." Images posted by Paul of the couple suggested they’d been together for around five years.

Hellyeah guitarist Tom Maxwell issued a statement on behalf of the band, thanking fans for their messages of affection and noting that Paul had been reunited with his brother “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, who’d been shot dead onstage in 2004. “Sadness, shock, confusion, anger, despair,” he added. “We feel it all together. Hug your loved ones and keep them close. Thank you all again for all your love. Vinnie will be and is greatly loved and missed but his music will live forever. Crank it loud today and scream to the heavens so he can hear you."

The band’s label, Eleven Seven Music, issued its own statement. “Vinnie was a vital force for bands and millions of fans worldwide," it read in part. "Whether fans were turning their volume to 11 or headbanging their hearts out at live shows, Vinnie was an inspiration. … 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. May he be reunited with his brother as we all strive to continue his legacy. … Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, bandmates, friends and fans through this difficult time.”

Tributes had already been paid by surviving Pantera members Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown, and from across the industry, while a number of artists paid homage onstage. Alice in Chains dedicated “Nutshell” to Paul during their appearance at Hellfest in France last night. Bad Wolves covered the Pantera song “Sandblasted Skin” during their show in Johnson City, Tenn., noted, “Ripped some classic Trendkill-era Pantera last night in honor of the late Great Vinnie Paul Abbott.”

And Avenged Sevenfold dedicated a performance of “Hail to the King” to him, which you can see below.



Top 50 Metal Albums

More From Ultimate Classic Rock