Former PANTERA and current HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott has released the following statement on the six-year anniversary of the death of his brother, PANTERA/DAMAGEPLAN guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott:
"I wanna thank you all for remembering and celebrating the life of my best friend and brother, Mr. Dimebag Darrell! His spirit and energy is always with us and inspires us to be the best we can be! His legacy lives on bigger than ever, so on this day of sadness let's crank up his tunes, watch his videos, do some blacktooth grins and carry on in his honor! That would put a smile on his face!
"I love and miss you, brother.
"This is one of my best memories on my birthday — March 11, 2004 in Las Vegas — when me and Dime got up and jammed with Sammy Hagar and THE WABORITAS.
"Growing up being huge VAN HALEN and Sammy Hagar fans, this was a huge honor and a blast for both of us. We played 'You Really Got Me' and 'Ain't Talkin Bout Love', which we knew inside out and nailed it, then Sammy yells, 'Dimebag, 'Wild Thing' in the key of E,' and we both looked at each other like, 'Uh, oh oh.' It was a song we have never played... So Sammy leaned over Dime and showed him the three chords and we faked our way through it and it was actually pretty kick-ass...
'It was a dream come true!
"This is a photo [see below] of us havin' some Cabo Wabo tequilla and shootin' the shit backstage after the show!"
Abbott, one of the most beloved and respected musicians in hard rock, was shot onstage during a DAMAGEPLAN concert at the Alrosa Villa club in Columbus, Ohio by a 25-year-old ex-Marine named Nathan Gale. Gale murdered a total of four people and wounded three others before being killed himself by police officer James D. Niggemeyer, who arrived on the scene minutes after Gale began his rampage.