Former Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul dies in Las Vegas at 54

Updated June 23, 2018 - 11:31 am

Las Vegas resident Vinnie Paul, a heavy-metal icon and drumming force with Pantera and Hellyeah, has died in Las Vegas, multiple sources have confirmed.

Paul’s death was first reported by Billboard.com and soon after was revealed on Pantera’s Facebook page.

The message read:

“Vincent Paul Abbott aka Vinnie Paul has passed away.

Paul is best known for his work as the drummer in the bands Pantera and Hellyeah. .

The family requests you please respect their privacy during this time.”

Paul died Friday at 54. No other details of his death were immediately available. Sources who knew Paul said late Friday and also today that he had suffered a major heart attack, but there has been no official confirmation of his cause of death.

Paul was a fan of live music and entertainment. He was a regular at music venues all over town, a frequent visitor to Carrot Top’s show at Luxor and Zowie Bowie’s show at Red Rock, as well as the shows of such artists as Frankie Moreno and Matt Goss (he was at Goss’ show at 1Oak Nightclub at The Mirage on Tuesday).

Carrot Top, whose legal name is Scott Thompson, said of Paul, “He might have been my biggest supporter. He was just the kindest, sweetest, most genuine person. I’m very sad.”

Paul was also close to members of Raiding the Rock Vault at Hard Rock Hotel and attended the show Sunday night. Vocalist Paul Shortino said Paul had just finished drum tracks on an upcoming Hellyeah album.

“Vinnie was the most approachable, humble, generous person I’ve known,” Shortino, lead singer for Quiet Riot ant Rough Cutt over the years. “He was my favorite rock star. We lost a true heavy-metal legend.”

Shortino added, “Vinnie had an impact on young and even seasoned drummers.”

Paul and Hellyeah most recently headlined in Las Vegas at the Foundry at SLS in June 2016.

Members of that band and other friends joined Paul at a Nine Inch Nails show at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel last weekend.

“This is such a shock because he was so excited about finishing up the album and getting back on the road,” Vegas rocker Franky Perez, a longtime friend of Paul’s, said today. “I’m still trying to piece this together.’

Paul also co-founded the heavy metal band Damageplan in 2003 with his late younger brother, Dimebag Darrell. The two had earlier formed Pantera.

Darrell was murdered on stage by a gunman at a show in Columbus, Ohio, in December 2004.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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