On February 15, 2005, two months after Dimebag Darrell’s murder, his autopsy report was released, confirming that the guitarist died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head. According to the copy of the report on Autopsy Files, Darrell’s fatal injuries occurred after he was “allegedly shot by another person,” that individual being Nathan Gale, a 25-year-old former Marine who purportedly blamed Darrell for the breakup of Pantera. As the late Vinnie Paul explained in an interview (via Loudwire), there was also speculation that Gale’s apparent mental illness (and his belief that Damageplan had stolen his lyrics) might have fueled his rampage at the Alrosa Villa.

All in all, Darrell’s autopsy revealed that he had sustained four gunshot wounds, including one to the right cheek, one to the back of the head, one to the left ear, and one to the right hand. The first three wounds seemed to be the ones that did the most damage; the shot to the cheek exited behind Darrell’s right ear and the shot to the left ear exited through his left posterior scalp. It appears that the bullet to the back of the musician’s head remained lodged, given how this was the only one that did not have exit wound information.

The autopsy also revealed that Darrell was in fairly good health at the time of his death. It was noted that he had a “plastic airway” in the mid-mouth area as evidence of medical therapy, but other than that, he wasn’t suffering from any serious medical conditions. Interestingly, the report misidentified Pantera/Damageplan drummer Vinnie Paul as Darrell’s “father,” instead of brother in the “Next of Kin” section. (Darrell and Vinnie were both outlived by their father, songwriter/producer Jerry Abbott.)

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