Hellyeah frontman Chad Gray has released a statement on the death of his bandmate, drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott. Gray wrote, "First off, I'm sorry to all of you for our loss. It's consumed me, as I'm sure it has many of you. I'm sure you can all understand this has been incredibly hard and impossible for me to wrap my head around. I just don't want to believe it's real."
Gray continued, "This has been one of the toughest things I've ever had to face in my life! I'm so confused, sad and as helpless as I've ever been. I'm at a loss and completely devastated. But I'm trying. It's the equivalent of an emotional riot in my head and in my heart as I write this. But I'm trying to focus on anything good. I know Vinnie would want that. And the good things are my memories of him. His smile, his infectious laugh and his personality that beamed light."
Gray added, "I just want to say, thank you Vinnie Paul! For saving my life, for your music, for your endless generosity, for accepting me into your life, for creating our music that touched people, for being proud to be in Hellyeah and for always treating me like a brother and more importantly for treating me like a friend . . . I will always love you and go to the end of the earth to carry the torch for you and Dime's legacy."
Abbott's brother, guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, was shot to death in December 2004 while performing onstage. The Abbotts founded the bands Pantera and Damageplan together. After Dimebag's death, Abbott joined Gray and other members of Mudvayne and Nothingface in Hellyeah, who have released five albums.
Vinnie passed away on Friday (June 22nd) at the age of 54. He apparently died in his sleep at his home in Las Vegas. No cause of death was given at press time, but sources close to the family told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he suffered a "major heart attack." Fellow musicians and fans have paid tribute to the beloved drummer in an outpouring of grief over the past few days.
Story source: Blabbermouth
- Hellyeah's fifth album, Unden!able, came out in 2016.
- Not long before his death, Vinnie laid down the drum tracks for Hellyeah's sixth album. It is not presently clear when those recordings will see the light of day.
- Vinnie told Metal Hammer in an interview that he wanted Guns N' Roses classic debut LP, Appetite For Destruction, played at his funeral. He explained, "I'd really want to choose an album that was a g****mn good time, like f**kin' Guns N' Roses. I'd want people to celebrate what we've done and the fact that we'd had a great life. I wouldn't want my funeral to be a sad, sappy thing."
CHECK IT OUT: Read Chad Gray's full statement: