UPDATE: Ms. Yeager has made her account private since this story originally was published.

The rock and metal communities have been quick to react to the sudden passing of Pantera co-founder and drummer Vinnie Paul. Those closest to him, however, have taken some time to respond and now Chelsey Yeager, his longtime girlfriend, has shared a message.

"I want to thank each & every one of you guys for sending your love," Yeager exclaimed in an Instagram post depicting her and Vinnie sharing a warm embrace in a car. "Please please give me & all of our family/friends time," she continues, adding, "I can’t begin to describe the pain in my heart from this nightmare... I have absolutely no other words."

On Friday (June 22), Pantera issued a statement breaking the news that the legendary drummer had passed away, noting, "No further details are available at this time.
The family requests you please respect their privacy during this time."

Vinnie Paul, who turned 54 in March, was well-loved by his peers as members of Anthrax, Megadeth, Black Sabbath, KISS, Testament, Lamb of God, Judas Priest, Fear Factory, Black Label Society and more all shared in the grief.

We spoke to Anthrax's Charlie Benante about Vinnie Paul's influence and legacy. Speaking about Pantera's contributions to metal on the whole, he concluded, "I think that if Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth had a baby, it would have been Pantera. Pantera was like Van Halen, reborn. The [Abbott] brothers, growing up together and playing together, like the Van Halen brothers... that's a God-given gift."

Below are some photos of the good times shared between Vinnie Paul and Chelsey Yeager.

Where Does Vinnie Paul Rank Among the Top 66 Hard Rock + Metal Drummers of All Time?

Vinnie Paul Plays 'Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?'

More From Loudwire