For decades, the rock’n’roll lifestyle has attracted many musicians enthralled by the idea of living fast and dying young. However, while music history is littered with examples of death by self-inflicted misadventure, it also accounts for a small coterie of artists who have prematurely checked out in such mysterious ways they almost suspend belief. Here we pay heartfelt respect to the ten strangest rock deaths of all time…
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10: “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott
Died: 8 December 2004 | Age: 38
Cause of death: Fatally shot while performing
Famous for founding influential Texan thrash metal outfit Pantera alongside his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott enjoyed mainstream success during the
90s when his band’s ferocious third album, Far Beyond Driven, went to No.1 on the Billboard 200.
However, the influential guitarist suffered one of the strangest rock deaths, in especially violent circumstances, on 8 December 2004. Pantera had disbanded a year earlier, and Abbott was performing live with his new act, Damageplan, at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. Shortly after the group steamed into their set, a 25-year-old former marine, Nathan Gale, shot Abbott multiple times with a 9mm Beretta pistol.
The guitarist took three bullets to the head and died instantly. Gale went on to kill four people in total and wound seven others before police officers shot him dead. Thousands of fans attended Abbott’s public memorial, and the guest list included artists such as Eddie Van Halen, Slipknot’s Corey Taylor and Alice In Chains’ Jerry Cantrell.
Abbott was buried alongside his mother, Carolyn, at the Moore Memorial Gardens cemetery in Arlington, Texas. Gene Simmons donated a Kiss Kasket for the service, and Eddie Van Halen gifted his original black-and-yellow-striped 1979 Charvel “Bumblebee” guitar, featured on the back cover of Van Halen II, to be included in the coffin.
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