Vinnie Paul, drummer and co-founding member of iconic heavy metal band Pantera, has died at the age of 54.
According to Billboard, the new of Paul's death was first announced on Pantera's Facebook page, but no specifics were given.
"Vincent Paul Abbott aka Vinnie Paul has passed away," the statement on the Pantera Facebook page. "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."
Paul and his brother — legendary metal guitarist Darrell Lance "Dimebag Darrell" Abbott — founded Pantera in the early '80s, first starting out as a glam metal band before moving in a much more heavy metal direction that resulted in some of the most influential metal albums of all-time.
Along with vocalist Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown, Pantera put out five genre-defining albums between 1990 and 2000. Cowboys From Hell, the bands first non-glam album, is widely considered to be one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time, mostly for its massively influential groove-metal sensibility crafted by Paul and Darrell.
They would go on to put out four more highly regarded metal albums as a band — Vulgar Display of Power (1992), Far Beyond Driven (1994), The Great Southern Trendkill (1996), and Reinventing the Steel (2000) — before breaking up in 2003.
Afterwards, Paul and his brother went on to play in the band Damageplan, releasing the album New Found Power in 2004. Sadly, during a December 2004 concert a belligerent fan rushed the stage and shot Darrell, killing him instantly.
Two years later, in 2006, Paul got back into performing again by joining the heavy metal supergroup Hellyeah. In addition to Paul, the band also featured Mudvayne members Chad Gray (vocalist ) and Greg Tribbett (guitarist), as well as Nothingface guitarist Tom Maxwell.
With Paul as an original member of Hellyeah, the band would go on to put out five albums in about10 years. The most recent being 2016s Unden!able.
After news of Paul's passing was reported, many of his peers and fans took to social media to share messages of sympathy over the loss of the well-respected drummer.
Rest in peace, Vinnie. Our prayers and good wishes go to his family, friends and fans. https://t.co/iXQ4Hum9lT— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) June 23, 2018
"Miss you. Vinnie. A total monster behind the kit and a blast to hang with. Way too soon, but go be metal gods with your brother. We get it," tweeted comedian, actor, and lifelong metalhead Brian Posehn.
Rest In Peace Vinnie Paul. Heaven has Dimebag and Vinnie now 🙏🏻#RIPVINNIEPAUL— Travis Barker (@travisbarker) June 23, 2018
"I just woke up in Belgium to the news that my friend Vinnie Paul has passed away. Another metal hero taken too soon," Megadeth's Dave Mustaine added. "Say hello to Daryl for me. Rest In Peace, my dear friend."
At this time, no funeral arrangements or memorial plans for Paul have been announced.