Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman dies three years after contracting flesh-eating disease from spider
AMERICAN thrash metal guitarist Jeff Hanneman, a member of the seminal heavy metal band Slayer, has died aged 49 from liver failure in Southern California.
Hanneman, who wrote songs “Raining Blood” and “Angel of Death”, had spent most of 2011 battling a flesh-eating disease contracted after he was bitten by a spider.
His death yesterday morning was confirmed in a statement on the band’s Facebook page: “Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11am this morning near his Southern California home.”
“Hanneman was in an area hospital when he suffered liver failure.”
He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry.
Hanneman founded Slayer with fellow guitarist Kerry King in the early 1980s. The group was among the “big four” thrash metal groups of the era alongside Megadeth, Metallica and Anthrax.
Hanneman’s life changed considerably after he was bitten by a spider three years ago. An open letter published on the band’s website in 2011 described the devastating physical impact the bite had on him.
It said: “As you know, Jeff was bitten by a spider more than a year ago, but what you may not have known was that for a couple of days after he went to the ER, things were touch-and-go. There was talk that he might have to have his arm amputated, and we didn't know if he was going to pull through at all.”
“He was in a medically-induced coma for a few days and had several operations to remove the dead and dying tissue from his arm. So, understand, he was in really, really bad shape. It's been about a year since he got out of the hospital, and since then, he had to learn to walk again, he's had several painful skin grafts, he's been in rehab doing exercises to regain the strength in his arm; but best of all, he's been playing guitar.”
Hanneman had since been making progress with physiotherapy and had been writing songs with Slayer in anticipation of recording a new album this year.
Since news of his death broke social networking sites have been awash with tributes to Hanneman.
Guns N’Roses tweeted: “Our condolence to the entire @slayer family #RIPJeff”
Black Stone Cherry wrote: “RIP JEFF HANNEMAN of Slayer, we lost a good one.”
Hammerfall paid tribute to him, saying: "How tragic, Jeff Hanneman has passed away! Slayer, believe it or not, has been quite instrumental in shaping the HF attitude, and we will miss him and his musical contributions to the world dearly. R.I.P., Jeff!"
Matilda Battersby, Independent.co.uk