Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman dies at 49

Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman dies at 49

PanARMENIAN.Net - Only two years after contracting an extremely rare skin disease, Slayer guitarist and co-founder Jeff Hanneman died Thursday, May 2, of liver failure at a Southern California hospital, GuitarWorld reported.

Slayer announced the news this afternoon, with the following statement on the band's website, Facebook page and Twitter account: "Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11 am this morning near his Southern California home. He was 49. 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, and will be sorely missed."

Hanneman hasn't toured with the thrash metal giants since early 2011, when he contracted necrotizing fasciitis from a spider bite. The disease eats away at the flesh from skin and tissue.

After not performing with the band since October 2010, Hanneman joined Slayer at a Big 4 concert in Indio, California, in April 2011. He surprised the crowd of 50,000 when he walked out onto the stage unannounced and played "South of Heaven" and "Angel of Death." Backstage in Slayer's dressing room afterwards, Hanneman relaxed on a couch and said, "I'm the happiest man in the world."

Hanneman had performed on every Slayer release and wrote many of the band's best-known songs, including "Angel of Death" and "South of Heaven." Hanneman's songs have been recorded by Hatebreed, Children of Bodom, Hellsongs and Cradle of Filth and sampled by rapper Styles-P.

Hanneman and Slayer guitarist Kerry King perfected a twin-lead guitar style that pushed the band to the head of the thrash metal movement of the early '80s; they have been crowned as one of thrash metal's "Big Four," along with Metallica, Anthrax and Megadeth.

He's survived by Kathy, his wife of 16 years, sister Kathy and two brothers, Michael and Larry.

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