RIP Jeff Hanneman

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.

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Comments (12)
  1. This sucks on every level.

  2. Hanneman looked to be in pretty bad shape for the past few years now, well before the spider bite, but this is still terrible. RIP.

  3. Shitty news. He wrote most of Slayer’s best songs. Huge loss for metal. R.I.P.

  4. RIP. South Of Heaven is one of my single favorite albums of all time, but it’stheir Chemical Warfare EP that turned me on to them. Friends were talking about them before that, but I picked that EP up (on a cassette) at the mall (yes, the mall) and it totally kicked my ass. Been a fan ever since.

    The Revolver Golden Gods Awards are live on AXS TV tonight from 7-11 PM PST. I’m sure there will be many mentions and tributes.

  5. Can’t believe this – Jeff Hanneman is not EVER supposed to die, let alone at age 49. Incredibly sad news.

  6. Fuck. Dude wrote some of my favorite tracks. Curious to see how the Westboro Baptist Church does against Slayer fans at his memorial.

  7. Never been into metal, but Slayer has always been one of the few exceptions. Few bands of any genre do what they do as well as Slayer does, and that kind of ferocious energy can’t be ignored. R.I.P. Jeff, this is a sad day.

  8. He’s haunting the chapel now.

  9. Hanneman was the heart of this band, and the guy who remembered their punk roots (remember kids, Slayer originally was just the hardest punk group in existence). Without his influence or Lombardo’s drumming, I think it’s RIP for Slayer too. If they tour now, it’s going to be a hollow experience for true fans.

    • If they continue as a band I will be shocked and saddened.

      • They’ve already continued as a band. They never stopped being a band. I’m a fan, so I understand where you guys are coming from, but they’ve already played a whole bunch of shows with Gary Holt from Exodus, and have many more scheduled in the future. Beyond that, they recently confirmed that they were pretty far into a new album. Whether they continue with that now or not remains to be seen. As far as the rest of the band goes, King and Araya are original members and Lombardo has been in and out of the band so many times I lost count. I have no problem with them continuing if it’s what they want to do. Who am I to deny them playing music, making art and making a living?

  10. I remember sitting down with Show No Mercy for the first time as a kid. Staring at the band pics of Hanneman and King on the back sleeve and getting totally freaked out by their get-ups and the cover art. They’re first few albums always stuck with me despite my radically shifting tastes in music. RIP. “Hell Awaits”

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