Thousands Gather To Mourn Dimebag Darrell

Eddie Van Halen, Jerry Cantrell among those who attended memorial service Tuesday.

Several thousand fans and friends gathered at the Arlington Convention Center in Arlington, Texas, Tuesday night to mourn Damageplan/ Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott.

The inside of the cavernous convention center was filled with flowers and oversized magazine covers featuring Abbott, according to The Dallas Morning News. Among the musicians on hand to pay tribute were guitarists Zakk Wylde and Eddie Van Halen. (Click for photos from the memorial.)

"I'm here for the same reason as everyone else, to give some love back," said Van Halen, who, along with Wylde, reportedly downed shots of booze as he spoke.

"This guy was full of life. He lived and breathed rock and roll." Van Halen held his cell phone up to the microphone and played a profanity-laced message left by an excited Abbott after a concert he played with Van Halen.

"I just wanted to give you a ... call to tell you thank you so ... much, man, for the most awesome, uplifting, euphoric, spiritual rock and roll extravaganza ever," Abbott said in the message to Van Halen, according to reports.

"A whole part of my life is gone," said Wylde, described as red-eyed and visibly upset.

Former Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell was among the performers at the event, which also featured tributes from Abbott's ex-Pantera bandmate Rex Brown and the guitarist's brother, Damageplan/ Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul.

Paul took the stage, patted a cardboard cut-out of his brother holding a guitar and encouraged the fans to yell "Dimebag!," according to an Associated Press report. He told the crowd that Abbott gave it his all during every show and "went down" doing what he loved.

A private funeral for Abbott — who was among four people shot and killed during a Damageplan concert at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, on December 8 (see "Dimebag Darrell, Four Others Killed In Ohio Concert Shooting") — was held earlier in the day; Cantrell also reportedly performed at the funeral. Much as they did at a vigil outside Alrosa Villa, fans gathered in the parking lot of the convention center before the memorial to drink beer and crank out Pantera and Damageplan tunes, according to the Morning News report.

"Let us remember his happiness," Nick Bowcott, former guitarist with the metal band Grim Reaper, told the crowd. "He never lost sight of where he came from. He started as a fan, and he was always a fan." The ceremony also featured screenings of music videos and home movies.

Former Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo — who publicly feuded with Abbott for the past few years and is featured on the cover of the latest issue of Metal Hammer saying that Darrell should be "severely beaten" in an interview conducted before the guitarist's murder — was apparently barred from the service, though he expressed his condolences in a statement (see "Dimebag's Former Bandmate Phil Anselmo Says He's Devastated, Plans To Disappear"). Other attendees included former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez, ex-Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares and Slipknot members Jim Root, Corey Taylor and Paul Gray.

For more fans' reactions to the death of Dimebag Darrell, check out You Tell Us.

For artists' reactions, check out "Ozzy, Dave Mustaine, Jonathan Davis Remember Dimebag".

Click here for more on the tragic death of Dimebag Darrell and the Ohio club shooting.