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Fans Mourn Slaying of Ex-Pantera Guitarist

DALWORTHINGTON GARDENS, Texas – For many fans who came to pay respects Thursday to slain rock star “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, the hand-painted red sign on the mailbox said it all.

“You were the peoples rock-star. We love you bro!”

The guitarist for the North Texas heavy-metal band Damageplan was shot to death Wednesday night during a concert at an Ohio nightclub. Authorities and witnesses said the gunman jumped onto the stage and also killed three others before he was fatally shot by police.

Abbott – who along with his brother Vinnie Paul Abbott formed Damageplan last year after the breakup of their influential 1990s metal band Pantera – was remembered as a regular guy by fans Thursday outside his home in this affluent suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth.

Police stood guard outside and said they expected to maintain security because rock dignitaries were expected to come by. Flowers, cards and a black concert T-shirt were left at a makeshift memorial.

“Even though he was a rock star, he was a down-to-earth guy. He didn’t have his nose in the air. I think he’ll be remembered forever,” said Adam Darnell, 22, who came to the Abbott home with a group of friends.

Fans and neighbors said Abbott, 38, was regularly seen at grocery stores, restaurants and bowling alleys around town. Brandie Frizzell, a waitress at a club who had served Dime, as he was often called, said he always remembered people’s names.

“If he wasn’t a rock star, you would just think he was just any other guy,” she said.

Meanwhile, stunned fans jammed the group’s Web site Thursday with messages.

“This is the worst day in metal history,” one Web site posting read.

“The metal world feels your pain,” another wrote.

Phone numbers for the Abbotts are unlisted and could not be reached Thursday.

The Abbotts grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Their father, country-western songwriter Jerry Abbott, owned a recording studio in the area.

Damageplan was in the midst of a national tour and was headlining the Ohio show, but the brothers’ big fame came from Pantera.

“Every local band in Dallas-Fort Worth looked up to those guys,” Gary Stinnett, who got to know Abbott while working at a North Texas radio station, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “He was huge.”

Pantera, known for its fast, aggressive sound, recorded several albums in the 1990s, attracting a massive cult following. The third release, “Far Beyond Driven,” debuted at No. 1 in 1994, surprising chart-watchers and critics alike.

Other hit albums were “The Great Southern Trendkill” and “Reinventing The Steel.” A song by the band became the Dallas Stars hockey team’s signature tune in 1999.

Pantera was nominated for Grammies for best metal performance in 1995 for “I’m Broken” and in 2001 for “Revolution Is My Name.”

The Abbott brothers produced Damageplan’s debut album, “New Found Power,” which was released in February.

“Damageplan carries on the tradition Pantera started, the… hell-raising tradition we were all about,” Vinnie Paul Abbott told The Dallas Morning News in October. “We do play some Pantera songs. Me and Dime wrote them, and we feel like we have the right to play them. But the focus is on Damageplan.”

While known for their music, the Abbotts were also noted sports fans in the Dallas area.

They often appeared on local radio sports talk shows and wrote the Dallas Stars hockey team’s official theme song during its 1999 run to the Stanley Cup.

“We know the Abbotts as passionate hockey fans and consider them good friends of the Dallas Stars,” Stars President Jim Lites said in a statement Thursday.

The Abbotts befriended players for the Stars, who took the ice each game while the Pantera song played.

“They had a wonderful passion for their work and for the Dallas Stars,” said former Stars defenseman Craig Ludwig, a member of the Stanley Cup team. “They weren’t just hockey fans, they were friends of the entire team. Dime will be missed very much.”

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