Meet the local shredder who became the last guitarist to play the Walk solo on Dimebag Darrell's guitar, less than 24 hours before the Pantera legend's tragic death

[L-R] Dimebag Darrell and Nick Norton
(Image credit: Lisa Lake/Getty Images / Nick Norton)

December 8 is not a date remembered fondly in the great calendar of heavy metal. For the best part of two decades, it has served as the painful reminder of Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell’s untimely passing – gunned down in cold blood only one song into Damageplan’s set at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio. The metal world would never be the same again.

Universally loved both onstage and off, he was a cartoon-like character who encapsulated everything about what it takes to be a guitar hero. From his brilliantly rhythmic riffs, which inspired generations of groove metal hopefuls, to his electrified virtuosic leads, which he often laughed off as unstudied guesswork, the man born Darrell Lance Abbott was – and very much remains – a godlike entity larger than life itself.

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Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences as a guitar player. He's worked for magazines like Kerrang!Metal HammerClassic RockProgRecord CollectorPlanet RockRhythm and Bass Player, as well as newspapers like Metro and The Independent, interviewing everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handled lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).