Pantera Co-Founder Vinnie Paul Dead at 54
Vinnie Paul, drummer and co-founder of Pantera, has died at the age of 54, the band announced. No details were supplied in the statement. “Vincent Paul Abbott aka Vinnie Paul has passed away,” Pantera said. “Paul is best known as the drummer in the bands Pantera and Hellyeah. No further details are available at this time. The family requests you please respect their privacy during this time.”
According to TMZ, who spoke with his family, he passed away in his sleep at his home in Las Vegas. After the cause of death is determined by the medical examiner, his body will be flown to Texas, and he'll be buried between his brother and mother.
Among the tributes paid on social media, Kiss frontman Paul Stanley said: “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.” Anthrax wrote: “Can’t believe it. R.I.P. to our brother Vinnie Paul.” Dave Mustaine said: “Another metal hero taken too soon… Rest in peace, my dear friend.”
Paul formed Pantera in 1982 alongside his brother, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, and Rex Brown. The definitive lineup was completed when Phil Anselmo joined them in 1987. They split acrimoniously in 2003, and the Abbott brothers went on to form Damageplan. That band ended when Dimebag was shot dead on stage in 2004. In 2006 Paul created Hellyeah, who went on to release five albums together, the most recent being 2016’s Unden!able.
Looking back on Pantera’s 1994 album Far Beyond Driven on its 20th anniversary, Paul told Radio.com: “For it to come out and make it to No.1 in the United States was an incredible accomplishment, not just for Pantera, but for heavy metal. People had to take a look at it whether they liked it or not. … All the magazines, Billboard and everything, said: ‘Overnight sensation – Pantera!’ We were like, ‘There was nothing overnight about this at all.’ We played night clubs for seven years solid before we got a record deal … really we developed the most brutal, loyal fanbase on the face of the Earth.”