LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jeff Hanneman, a founding member of Slayer whose career was irrevocably changed after a spider bite, has died. He was 49.
Slayer spokeswoman Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald said Hanneman died Thursday morning of liver failure at a Los Angeles hospital with his wife, Kathy, by his side.
The guitarist had recently begun writing songs with the band in anticipation of recording a new album later this year. He had been slowly recovering from what was believed to be a spider bite that nearly cost him his arm after he failed to seek immediate treatment.
“The music industry has lost a true trailblazer, and our deepest sympathies go out to his family, his bandmates and fans around the world who mourn his untimely passing,” said Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy, in a statement.
Robinson-Fitzgerald said it’s believed the spider bite contributed to the failure of Hanneman’s liver, but it is unclear whether an autopsy will be scheduled. No funeral arrangements have been made.
“Jeff Hanneman will always be a metal god,” rocker Andrew W.K. posted on Twitter.
Hanneman co-founded the thrash metal pioneers in Huntington Beach, Calif., in 1982.
Billboard magazine writes about Hanneman’s California roots and the band’s origins …
Born in Oakland, Calif., and a devoted Raiders fan, Hanneman was raised primarily in Long Beach and became fascinated with wars and military campaigns — themes he’d bring to Slayer’s music — via his father, a World War II veteran, and brothers who served in Vietnam. He met King in 1981 and decided to form their own band, mixing heavy metal and punk influences and signing with Metal Blade Records for Slayer’s first two albums, “Show No Mercy” in 1983 and “Hell Awaits” in 1985. The group made an eyebrow-raising move to the hip-hop label Def Jam in 1986 for the covers album “Undisputed Attitude and the classic “Reign in Blood.”
From Twitter …
Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM this… fb.me/x8bXmzyH
— Slayer (@Slayer) May 2, 2013
Tragic & shocking news about Jeff Hanneman. He is going to missed by so many. What a sad day for Metal. RIP man.
— Slash (@Slash) May 2, 2013
RIP to a dedicated Raiders fan RT @slayer: Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away…
— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) May 3, 2013