Fans Pay Tribute to North Texas Heavy Metal Legend

In Deep Ellum on Sunday, around 800 fans filed through the doors of the Bomb Factory live music venue to pay tribute to Vinnie Paul. Paul was the co-founder and drummer of the legendary North Texas heavy metal band Pantera.

A representative for Vinnie Paul Abbott's team said Paul died at his home in Las Vegas on June 22 at 54 years old. No details of his cause of death have been released.

"The world's going to miss him, he's going to be missed," said Dr. Rock, a friend and business partner.

"No matter how many millions of albums he sold, he treated you as an equal," Dr. Rock said. "He didn't treat you like he was a rock star. He never had that ego."

"He'd always stop and take a selfie for the fans or he always carried a sharpie with him so that he could sign an autograph," said friend and former tour manager Guy Sykes. "He was always that person."

Paul and his brother "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, co-founded Pantera in 1981. The heavy metal band would go on to release nine albums and earn four Grammy nominations for Best Metal Performance before splitting up.

In 2003, the brothers formed another band called Damageplan. During a concert in Ohio in December 2004, "Dimebag" Darrell was gunned down while performing. Three others were killed in the shooting.

Vinnie Paul was most recently recording another album with the band, Hellyeah, according to Dr. Rock. He said he last saw Paul in Las Vegas shortly before his death. 

During Sunday's public Celebration of Life, fans frequently chanted "Vinnie Paul" and "Hellyeah" as they watched video tributes to Paul. Speakers shared memories of how Paul influenced the metal genre and the lives of fans.

"My heart was broken, it was broken," Sonja Scarborough said. The long-time fan drove from Tyler to Dallas to be in the front row for the service. "As long as I've loved him, I've been in the front row right here. So I needed to finish it out like this."

Vinnie Paul maintained a lifelong residence in Arlington. Representatives said Paul was buried beside his mother Carolyn and brother Darrell at Moore Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, Texas.

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