EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt, who has been filling in for SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman for the past two years while Hanneman recovered from necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease, has issued the following statement in the wake of his shocking passing on May 2nd:
"I'm at a loss for words. The news yesterday of Jeff's passing hit me like a ton of bricks. Totally devastating sadness is all I have right now. 'In shock' are the best words I can come up with to describe how I'm feeling.
Jeff, it's been an honor, my brother, to TRY my best to honor your songs best I could.
There is only one Jeff Hanneman. All I ever could HOPE to do was play those songs you wrote with the conviction with which you played and wrote them, 'cause there is only one of you; that mold was broken long ago.
My old friend, we had some amazing times on the greatest shows and tours I've ever done (VENOM, SLAYER, EXODUS, anyone?), young and hungry thrashers out to lay waste to everything, and had the best time ever while doing it. Exactly why we all started playing in the first place.
Much love and respect, and my deepest condolences to the Hanneman family and the whole Slayer family. Gone but NEVER forgotten and always missed. R.I.P."
At 11 AM, PST on May 2nd, Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman passed away near his Southern California home; he was 49 years old. 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.