The music world was rocked yesterday by the death of founding Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul Abbot, who passed away at the age of 54. Now, some of his closest friends and contemporaries have paid tribute to the late rocker.

Yesterday afternoon, the official Pantera Facebook account broke the news that Abbott had passed away, sharing no further information, and asking for respect at this difficult time. However, Abbott’s family spoke to TMZ earlier today where they revealed that the drummer had passed away in his sleep, with the Las Vegas medical examiner set to determine a formal cause of death.

Vinnie Paul had founded Pantera back in 1981 alongside his brother, and lead guitarist of Pantera, ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott. The group welcomed vocalist Phil Anselmo in 1986, before seeing their breakthrough success in 1990 with their fifth album, Cowboys From Hell.

Following Pantera’s breakup in 2003, the Abbott brothers formed Damageplan, recording one album in 2004, before dissolving in December of that year following the onstage murder of ‘Dimebag’ Darrell by a fan during a performance in the US state of Ohio.

Vinnie Paul would later join Texas-based heavy metal band Hellyeah in 2006, performing on all five of the group’s albums, with their last, Unden!able, being released in 2016.

Now, following the drummer’s passing, notable members of the metal community have shared a number of moving tributes to the late rocker, including members of Metallica, Foo Fighters, Guns N’ Roses, and Slipknot, just to name a few.

“You inspired us all, not only with your music, but with your love and hospitality. You were one in a million, and will be missed,” wrote the Foo Fighters on social media. “He was one of the warmest people I knew,” echoed Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash. “A truly good & fun friend. We’re going to miss you more than you could possibly have known.”

While others also shared their memories of the rocker’s influence on them, Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe shared a heartfelt tribute which noted how he came to his aid back in 2012 while on trial in the Czech Republic for the manslaughter of a 19-year-old stage-invading fan.

“He also did me a very solid favor when I was in some very serious legal trouble a while back by writing a detailed letter to a judge explaining what had happened to his brother & the need for good stage security,” Blythe wrote.

“That wasn’t an easy thing for him to do, but he did it anyway because he was a true friend and knew I needed some help– I’ll never forget that, & I made sure he knew I appreciated it.”

Check out Vinnie Paul performing on Pantera’s ‘Cowboys From Hell’:

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