According to Billboard, former PANTERA drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott has died. He was 54 years old. His representative confirmed the legendary drummer’s death to Billboard, but added that no further details are available at this time. The news was confirmed on PANTERA’s official Facebook page.
Vincent Paul Abbott, also known as Vinnie Paul (born March 11, 1964 – June 22 2018), was an American professional drummer and producer who is best known for being a former member, and co-founder, of the heavy metal band PANTERA. The group found mainstream success with second lead singer Phil Anselmo. Throughout its career, PANTERA earned four Grammy nominations and charted nine albums on the Billboard 200, including its 1994 album Far Beyond Driven, which debuted at No. 1 on the chart.
After PANTERA, Paul and his brother Dimebag Darrell formed DAMAGEPLAN in 2003, before Darrell was murdered on stage at a show in Columbus, Ohio, in December 2004. Damageplan disbanded shortly thereafter. Vinnie was a current member of supergroup HELLYEAH with vocalist Chad Gray and guitarist Greg Tribbett from Mudvayne, guitarist Tom Maxwell from Nothingface, and bassist Bob Zilla. The group last released an album in 2016. and had several dates planned for later this year, including appearances at Bud Light River City Rockfest 2018 in San Antonio, Louder Than Life 2018 in Louisville and Monster Energy’s Aftershock 2018 in Sacramento.
Since his brother’s murder, Vinnie Paul released several Dimebag-related items through his Big Vin Records label, including DVDs and the paperback book “He Came to Rock”. Vinnie later said that the Dimebag-related releases weren’t an attempt to cash in on his brother’s tragic end but rather a way to keep Dimebag‘s legacy alive and well.
UPDATE: Vinnie‘s family told TMZ he died in his sleep at his home in Las Vegas. His body’s been turned over to the medical examiner to determine a cause of death, and after that he’ll be flown back to his home state of Texas to be buried between his mom and brother. The report from the examiner could take anywhere from weeks to months, so it might be quite a while until we find out the true reason for Vinnie’s passing.