When Vincent Paul Abbott co-founded his heavy metal band in 1981, he likely didn't know that it would enjoy multi-decade success, earn four Grammy nominations, and have a near-constant place on the Billboard charts. But that's exactly the path Pantera took, which is why fans are devastated to hear Abbott, the drummer now better known as Vinnie Paul, has died at the age of 54, Billboard reports. "Vincent Paul Abbott aka Vinnie Paul has passed away," the band's Facebook page announced late Friday night. "Paul is best known for his work 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."
The Texas-born Paul founded Pantera with his brother, guitarist Dimebag Darrell, and once they recruited Phil Anselmo, their second lead singer, they started enjoying mainstream success. The band broke up in 2003, and rumor had it the breakup was caused by the brothers' feuding, though in an interview in 2004 they said it was just time to move on, per CNN. Dimebag Darrell was killed later that year in Columbus, Ohio, when a fan stormed the stage during a concert with his new band and shot and killed him and three others. Among those mourning Paul Saturday morning is Megadeth's Dave Mustaine. "I just woke up in Belgium to the news that my friend Vinnie Paul has passed away," he tweeted. "Another metal hero taken too soon. Say hello to Daryl for me. Rest In Peace, my dear friend." (Read more obituary stories.)