Slayer’s Jeff Hanneman dead at 49
Slayer have confirmed that guitarist Jeff Hanneman died yesterday (Thursday) at the age of 49.
He suffered liver failure while in a hospital near his California home. He’d been struggling with health issues since a near-fatal spider bite in 2011, which had kept him out of the band ever since.
A statement says: “Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11am this morning. He was in an area hospital.
“He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry, and will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace.”
He co-founded the band with fellow guitarist Kerry King in 1981 and alongside frontman Tom Araya and drummer Dave Lombardo they rose to become one of the Big 4 of thrash metal following their 1986 breakthrough album Reign In Blood.
In 2011 Hanneman told Classic Rock how he was bitten by a spider in his hot tub. “I didn’t even feel it – but an hour later I knew I was ill. I could see the flesh corrupting. I got to the emergency room and thank God the nurse knew straight away what it was.
“At that point I was an hour away from death. Unbelievably the doctor was a Slayer fan. He said: ‘First I am going to save your life. Then I am going to save your arm. Then I am going to save your career.’”
He underwent a series of skin grafts and had continued to receive physiotherapy. Exodus guitarist Gary Holt had been his temporary replacement in Slayer.
Last month, responding to questions about Hanneman’s continued absence, Araya said: “Jeff isn’t in the picture but he’s part of the picture. It’s taking him a lot longer than he even thought, I think. He can play, he can work out material, but it’s surprising him that it’s taking as long as it is to get back. Even though no one’s seen him, Jeff’s still part of the band.”
Drummer Jon Dette, who played with Slayer on their last tour after they dropped Lombardo over a contractual disagreement, said via Facebook: “Absolutely devastated right now.”
Revolver’s Golden Gods awards ceremony, which took place just as the guitarist’s death was revealed, was dedicated to his memory.
Tributes to Jeff Hanneman
Dave Mustaine: “We send our condolences and deepest sympathies to the family, friends, and fans of Jeff Hanneman. Our hearts go out to his brothers in Slayer. Tonight one less star will be shining and sadly, the stage got just a little bit darker.”
David Ellefson: “My condolences to Slayer and the Jeff Hanneman family today.”
Dan Spitz: “I don’t even know what to say – I’m in shock.”
Rob Caggiano said: “Really sad news.”
Accept: “Very sad day for the entire metal community. Our condolences to Jeff’s family and Slayer.”
Guns N’ Roses: “Our thoughts are with Jeff’s family and the Slayer band nation.”
Heallyeah: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Hanneman Family and Slayer.”
Anvil: “Anvil send their condolences to the Slayer and the Jeff Hanneman family.”
Geezer Butler: “Sad to hear – RIP.”
Black Stone Cherry: “We lost a good one.”
Slash: “Tragic and shocking news – he is going to missed by so many. What a sad day for metal.”
Mike Portnoy: “Wow….I’m in shock…”
David Draiman: “RIP to a titan of metal.”