The death of Vinnie Paul has hit those closest to him the hardest, and while many have weighed in with their thoughts concerning the late Pantera and Hellyeah drummer, Hellyeah vocalist Chad Gray has issued a thoughtful tribute while still attempting to come to grips with the loss of his bandmate and friend.

"I just don't want to believe it's real," says Gray, who offers thanks to all the fans and music peers who have expressed their kind words, blessings and condolences. "It really has taken 'the heavy metal family' to another level," the singer later adds, expressing that this is one of the toughest things he's had to deal with in his life. Gray goes on to share some of the thoughts of Paul that have been going through his head as he tries to process the loss. Read Chad Gray's full statement below.

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. I want to tell all my crew I love you guys so much. We couldn’t do what we do without you.

And I want to say thank you to everyone around the world for your kind words, blessings and condolences to all of us through this tragic time. We love you all! And to all of my friends in and out of the music business thank you for reaching out to me. It means more to me then I could ever express. I don’t know what I would do without you. So Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

It really has taken “the heavy metal family” to another level. 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. Him and his brother Dimebag lived to make people smile. That’s what I’m gonna miss the most. 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.

So many times I’ve looked back to see you just bashing away and have to pinch myself. It was Unbelievable! And for all of those things you will live forever in my heart. And I will never let you go!!! I will always love you and go to the end of the earth to carry the torch for you and Dimes legacy.

R.I.P Vincent Paul Abbott. I know your with DIMEBAG Right now Smiling down on us. Even in all this emotional darkness, that thought alone makes me smile right back. I LOVE YOU! Your eternal friend, -Chadnesss

Gray's comments follows those previously issued by Hellyeah guitarist Tom Maxwell, who offered the following post on Saturday morning (June 23) on behalf of the band.

Just so broken hearted and in shock. I’m struggling to write this but we want to thank you all for your kind words and support in this tragic time. We don’t have much info to give you other then Vinnie is now with Dime and they are together in a better place. Sadness, shock, confusion, anger, despair. We feel it all together. Hug your loved ones and keep them close. Thank you all again for all your love. Vinnie will be and is greatly loved and missed but his music will live forever. Crank it loud today and scream to the heavens so he can hear you.
-Maxwell

The drummer died on Friday (June 22). He was 54.

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