According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, sources who knew Vinnie Paul Abbott said the former PANTERA drummer had suffered “a major heart attack” when he died in his sleep on Friday, June 22 at his home in Las Vegas. He was 54 years old.
Vinnie Paul‘s body has been turned over to the medical examiner to determine an official cause of death. After that, he will be flown back to his home state of Texas to be buried between his mother and brother.
“This is such a shock because he was so excited about finishing up the [new HELLYEAH] album and getting back on the road,” singer Franky Perez (APOCALYPTICA, VELVET REVOLVER), a longtime friend of Paul‘s, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I’m still trying to piece this together.”
In a 2014 interview with AL.com, Vinnie Paul said that he still very much lived a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle on tour.
“There are no rules for me, man,” he said. “I like to do the show and then I like to party. I like to drink, I like to have a good time, I like to interact with the fans.”
More than a decade after witnessing the murder of his brother, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, while they were both playing at a club in Ohio, Vinnie Paul told the “Talk Is Jericho” podcast that he still felt ” like a 19-year-old kid. Everything I do, I approach the same way,” he said. “I’m not married. I don’t have any kids. I’ve been married to music my entire life. I’ve been dedicated to it. I know what it takes to do it. And ever since my brother has been taken from me, I feel like I have to live for both of us. And I bring it everywhere I go, everything I do, and I think he’s here with us, watching us and enjoying everything that’s going on, man.”
Vinnie Paul and his brother formed PANTERA in the 1980s. Their father was Jerry Abbott, a successful country songwriter whose tunes were recorded by the likes of Emmylou Harris and Freddy Fender.
Vinnie Paul was most recently in the band HELLYEAH alongside MUDVAYNE vocalist Chad Gray and NOTHINGFACE guitarist Tom Maxwell.