Pantera drummer, co-founder Vinnie Paul dead at 54

Heavy metal band Pantera's drummer and co-founder Vinnie Paul is dead, the group announced on Facebook.

Pantera drummer, co-founder Vinnie Paul dead at 54

Los Angeles: Heavy metal band Pantera's drummer and co-founder Vinnie Paul is dead, the group announced on Facebook.

The Texas-born musician died at age 54 on Friday evening, but no cause of death has been given, reports The Guardian.

Paul formed Pantera in 1981 with his brother "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and went on to earn four Grammy nominations and a No 1 album in the US in 1994.

Pantera disbanded in 2003 following reports of a rift in the group and its singer's intention to leave.

In a statement on Pantera's Facebook page, the group wrote: "Vincent Paul Abbott aka Vinnie Paul has passed away. 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 to please respect their privacy during this time."

Pantera's platinum-selling album "Vulgar Display of Power" is considered one of the most influential heavy metal albums of the 1990s. It sold over 2 million copies.

Paul and Abbott formed a new band Damageplan in 2004 after Pantera disbanded. But the latter was murdered by a gunman during a concert in Columbus, Ohio, later that year.

Artistes from the music world paid tribute to Paul.

English-American rocker Slash tweeted: "Tragic news about Vinnie Paul. He was one of the warmest people I knew. A truly good and fun friend. We're going to miss you more than you could possibly have known. RIP buddy."

Guns N' Roses bass guitarist Duff McKagan described Paul as a "Friend. Humorist. Badass drummer. All-around good man".

Megadeth lead singer Dave Mustaine wrote: "Another metal hero taken too soon. Say hello to Daryl for me. Rest In Peace, my dear friend."

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