SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman passed away at about 11 a.m. today (Thursday, May 2) 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.
— who in January 2011 contracted necrotizing fasciitis, likely caused
by a spider bite, and has been undergoing surgeries, skin grafts and
intense rehab since — spoke to U.K.´s Classic Rock magazine in December 2011 about his recovery which has seen him sit out an entire two years´ worth of touring with the band.
Hanneman was kicking back in a hot tub with a couple of beers when noticed a spider bite him on the arm.
even feel it," he said. "But an hour later, I knew that I was ill." On
his way to the hospital, "I could see the flesh corrupting," he
recalled. "The arm was real hot. I got to the emergency room, and thank
god the nurse knew straight away what it was. By chance, although it´s
pretty rare, she had seen a case a little while before. At that point, I
was an hour away from death."
Although the spider bite itself
was not serious, it had caused bacterial infection in the deeper layers
of the skin and tissues of the arm.
"Unbelievably, the doctor was a SLAYER fan," said Hanneman,
"First thing he said to me was: ´First I am going to save your life.
Then I am going to save your arm. Then I am going to save your career.´"
underwent emergency surgery to remove the dead and dying tissue. The
doctor was able to save the muscles and the tendons, but the guitarist
had a large open wound on his arm. He spent the next two months in
hospital, having extensive skin grafts and heavy doses of antibiotics to
suppress the infection.
"I had to learn to walk again," Hanneman
said: "I hadn´t stood up for a month, apart from anything else. The
skin grafts were very painful and all the muscles and tendons in the arm
where very weak. That was ok though. I count myself lucky that the
nurse and doctor knew right away what had happened to me, because things
could have been a whole lot worse."
At the April 2011 "Big Four" concert in Indio, California, Hanneman joined SLAYER onstage for a two-song encore, but he hasn´t yet been able to tour again.
In a March 1, 2013 interview with MetalObsession.net´s Nick Tevelis, SLAYER guitarist Kerry King stated about Jeff Hanneman´s health status: "I don´t have an update. I haven´t seen Jeff
in forever. He´s always been a recluse, and he´s even been more of a
recluse since he´s mot going on tour with us. But our manager talks to
him from time to time and sees him in L.A. just randomly. But I´m far
from L.A., so I´m not in that loop. But I guess he´s just getting
better. It´s just one of those things where he can do anything in life.
He could be hanging here having a good time with us. He can probably
play ´South Of Heaven´, but he´s not gonna be playing ´Jihad´, you know what I mean?! So it´s just a muscle memory kind of thing, I guess, at this point."
Asked whether Jeff had been involved in the songwriting process for the new SLAYER album, Kerry said: "It´s just all my stuff for now. But I did that just in case, ´cause I don´t know what Jeff´s intentions are. So I wanted to have SLAYER covered in case he doesn´t come to the party. If he comes to the party, then we´ve got tons of songs."
Regarding whether contingencies had been made in case Jeff doesn´t make it back to SLAYER in the near future, Kerry said: "I think Gary [Holt, EXODUS guitarist who has been filling in for Jeff
for the past couple of years] is in for the long haul. I haven´t really
discussed it with him. But he keeps his schedule free when he knows
we´re on tour. And I´m pretty sure, if Jeff all of a sudden came back in June, we would probably pay Gary for freeing up his time. I don´t wanna treat somebody that´s bailed us out for two years badly. But if Gary played with us forever? I´m OK with that. But if Jeff
got better and said, ´Hey, man, I´m ready to play,´ and he came to
rehearsal and showed us he was good enough, that´s his show."
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