According to a press release sent to BraveWords from management, SLAYER is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM PST this morning (May 2nd) 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.
BraveWords is in a state of shock with this news and we offer condolences to Hanneman's family, friends and legion of fans. Hanneman had a hand in some of the most important albums in metal history including Hell Awaits, Seasons In The Abyss, South Of Heaven and the unsurpassed Reign In Blood. Hanneman wrote the music for most of the band's treasured songs such as 'South Of Heaven', 'War Ensemble', 'Raining Blood' and 'Angel Of Death' - all staples for live performance at Slayer shows.
In February Slayer singer Tom Araya spoke with Andrew Haug from AndrewHaug.com - Australia's Only Dedicated 24/7 Rock-Metal Station - at the Melbourne stop of Soundwave 2013. He was asked about the status of guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who was hospitalized in early 2011 with necrotizing fasciitis (likely rooted in a spider bite). The band had since enlisted EXODUS' Gary Holt for live shows.
(Photo above: Hanneman making a special appearance at the Big 4 concert in Indio, CA in April 2011)
"Even though he's not in the picture, he's still part of the picture," Araya said. "It's taken him a lot longer than he even thought. He can play and he can work out the material but… It's like everything else, depending on how you are health-wise as a person, that affects how you heal. Even though you haven't seen him live, he's still part of the band."
Check out the 15-minute chat below: