Vinnie Paul, the hard-hitting drummer for pioneering metal band Pantera, died June 22 at the age of 54 at his home in Las Vegas. A cause of death was not reported, though foul play was not suspected.
Paul also played with Damageplan, Hellyeah, and Rebel Meets Rebel. His death was announced on Pantera’s Facebook page, which also included a touching tribute penned by a longtime friend of Paul and Pantera, journalist and ex-Grim Reaper guitarist Nick Bowcott:
Vinnie’s remarkable drumming talent is well known; what is maybe less well known is this: behind his larger-than-life onstage presence and muscular (he hit those freaking skins hard) yet musical drumming was a kind, gentle, generous, and funny guy with an infectious smile and a heart the size of Texas.
Vinnie’s kindness and generosity helped make a difference for many. Since he was as humble as he was thoughtful, though, he never made a big deal about such amazing acts…to him, helping others was just “the right thing to do.”
Paul, a self-taught drummer, founded Pantera in 1981 with his brother, Darrell Lance Abbott, AKA Dimebag Darrell. The group went on to become one of the most popular heavy/thrash metal bands of all time, with multiple gold records.