Legendary drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott has died at the age of 54, according to Billboard.
Abbott's representative confirmed his death to the music magazine, but the cause of death is not known at this time. Update: A new report states that Vinnie's family has said he died in his sleep.
He co-founded Texas groove metal pioneers Pantera with his brother, "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, in 1981. After recruiting bassist Rex Brown in 1982 and vocalist Philip Anselmo in 1986, the band adopted a heavier sound and became one of the biggest and most influential metal bands in the world.
The Abbott brothers formed Damageplan in the wake of Pantera's breakup in 2003, although the band ended abruptly as Dimebag, 38, was shot and killed on stage in 2004.
Vinnie Paul was the current drummer for metal supergroup Hellyeah, which he formed several years after his brother's death in 2006. According to La Crosse Tribune, the idea to form a supergroup originated in 2000 on the Tattoo the Earth tour, but scheduling conflicts got in the way.
This is truly a sad day in metal, and we will update as soon as we know more.
Rest in fucking Power. Tributes have been pouring in from rock and metal musicians. We've compiled them here.
Here's an interesting quote from Vinnie Paul about drum technique, mainly his dislike of blast beats and how young musicians may "overplay":
"It's drummers playing for drummers. It's called, 'Look at me. Listen how fast I can go' — dudududududududu [mimics ultra-fast double-bass beat]. There's no melody, there's no song and there's no chorus. It just doesn't take you anywhere, so it doesn't have a groove to me."
He continued: "I think there's a lot of death metal or doom metal dudes that somehow or another find a groove in it. David Vincent from MORBID ANGEL is a good friend of mine, and he's, like, 'Yeah, bro, there's great groove in that. What do you call it? — blast beat, man. You just haven't found it yet.'
"I can appreciate people for being able to go that fast with their left hand, man. But I just can't groove to that beat. I'm sorry. It's just like somebody sweeping the floor or something — tik tik tik tik tik. It just doesn't really jam to me. I'd rather hear a [John] Bonham groove going on than somebody sweeping the floor. You know?"
Look if anybody knows about groove, it's motha fuckin' Vinnie Paul. I mean, you've heard "Medicine Man" right?