As one of the most influential and successful heavy metal bands, Pantera gained great international fame and commercial success by creating and releasing songs that contributed to the popularization of metal music. Furthermore, the band became an inspiration for next-generation musicians with their unique styles.

Apart from fame and glory, Pantera’s past is full of personal tragedies, deaths, and serious addiction problems. The band frontman Phil Anselmo’s heroin addiction led to so many tensions between the band members that it caused their disbandment in 2003. The problems arose when Phil Anselmo died from a heroin overdose on July 13, 1996.

The Story of Phil Anselmo’s Heroin Addiction and Death

Phil Anselmo had been struggling with unbearable back pain during the mid-1990s. He tried to numb his pain by consuming lots of painkillers, alcohol, and eventually heroin. Thus, Anselmo was under the heavy influence of drugs and alcohol before and after every Pantera show until July 13, 1996.

After their concert at the Coca-Cola Starplex in Dallas, Texas, Anselmo used a lethal dose of heroin and went into cardiac arrest. He was dead for five minutes until he was revived by the paramedics. The first person that he saw when he came back to life was a nurse.

Anselmo recalled these times saying:

“I didn’t know what had happened. I had all these tubes hooked up to me and I sat straight up and threw up immediately. This nurse leaned over and said to me, ‘Welcome back to life. You overdosed on heroin.’

Therefore the first words that Phil Anselmo heard after he was given a second chance to live were ‘Welcome back to life. You overdosed on heroin.’ These words helped him grasp the severity of his situation. Then, he stopped using heroin and underwent successful back surgery. Years later, he also quit drinking alcohol and he has been completely sober for five years.