Yesterday, thrash metal gods Slayer posted an open letter to fans regarding the ill health of guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who suffered a spider bite last year that eventually left him in a medically induced coma, from which he was slowly recovering. Sadly, today, Hanneman passed away at age 49 of liver failure. The band’s publicist issued the following statement:
Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM 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.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Slayer are one of the most important bands in the history of metal if not American rock music, period. They were also one of the few metal bands to remain vital well into middle age. The loss of Hanneman is a significant one. Just terrible, sad news. RIP.