The Tragic Death Of Pantera's Vinnie Paul

Pantera wasn't exactly known for its luck. Sure, the band was famous and all, but their story is full of tragedy and loss. Their legacy is a mix of headbanging metalheads rocking to their tunes and of news headlines breaking stories that fans never wanted to hear. First was the band's breakup after some bad blood between the Abbott brothers and Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo. Next, came the onstage murder of Dimebag Darrell Abbott in 2004.

Dimebag's death was big deal. The outcry over the murder was heard around the world. Dimebag and former Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott were playing as  members of Damageplan for a show in Columbus, Ohio, when a Pantera-obsessed fan opened fire; Rolling Stone reported it was because of the Pantera breakup the year before. Vinnie Paul survived, but had to watch his brother die before his eyes.

Vinnie Paul would then go on to play with the band Hellyeah for 12 years, releasing six albums with former Mudvayne frontman Chad Gray, until Vinnie's untimely death in 2018. The Abbott brothers got the short end of the stick, that's for sure. All things considered, though, the former Pantera drummer's life could've ended in worse ways. Unlike his brother, Vinnie Paul's death never carried the suspicion of foul play. This Abbott brother died of natural causes.

Vinnie Paul had a big heart - literally

On June 22, 2018, Vincent Paul (Vinnie Paul) Abbott was found dead in his home. According to Rolling Stone, the death was initially suspected to have been a massive heart attack, and it was certainly reported that way, but that's only partially correct. It would later be revealed in the coroner's report that Abbott died from a whole mess of heart complications.

After opening Abbott up, as coroners typically do, they discovered his heart was comparable to that of the Grinch who stole Christmas: It had grown several sizes too large. Abbott had a condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlargement of the heart muscle, usually due to heart disease. Cardiomyopathy severely reduces the heart's ability to pump blood throughout the body and can lead to symptoms as benign as swollen ankles to more dangerous ones, such as heart failure and death.

On top of that, the report revealed that Abbott had suffered from severe coronary artery disease. This condition causes the arteries that feed the heart muscle itself to reduce blood flow. It's believed to have been a huge factor in the drummer's death. Heart problems are common in older people, but Vinnie Paul was only 54 when he died. Too young for anyone, and especially too young for a musician who was so well-loved.