Slayer issued an official update on the passing of founding member and guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who died May 2 at a hospital near his Southern California home. The update noted that Hanneman, 49, died from alcohol-related cirrhosis.
According to a post on the band's website, Hanneman “had his health struggles over the years, including the recent Necrotizing fasciitis infection that devastated his well-being, but Jeff and those close to him were not aware of the true extent of his liver condition until the last days of his life. Contrary to some reports, Jeff was not on a transplant list at the time of his passing, or at any time prior to that. In fact, by all accounts, it appeared that he had been improving -- he was excited and looking forward to working on a new record.”
The statement, released by the band’s longtime publicist Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald, offered news that a public memorial is in the works. “While the details are being worked out now, Slayer wants its fans to know that there will be a celebration of Jeff Hanneman's life sometime later this month; along with Jeff's family and friends, the public will be invited to attend. More information will be posted here soon.”
Hanneman co-founded the band with guitarist Kerry King and wrote music for some of the band’s most famous songs from its best-known albums: "Reign in Blood," "South of Heaven" and "Seasons in the Abyss." He also wrote the single, “Psychopathy Red” off Slayer’s last release, "World Painted Blood,"in 2009, the last album to feature him.
Bandmates Kerry King and Tom Araya offered remembrances of Hanneman. Guitarist King stated, “I had so many great times with Jeff ... in the early days when we were out on the road, he and I were the night owls, we would stay up all night on the bus, just hanging out, talking, watching movies ... World War II movies, horror movies, we watched 'Full Metal Jacket' so many times, we could practically recite all of the dialogue." Araya, the singer and bassist, stated, “Jeff was a lifeline of Slayer, he wrote so many of the songs that the band will always be known for. He had a good heart, he was a good guy."