guitarist Jeff Hanneman
has detailed his near-death experience this year in a gripping new interview.
He explained how he was relaxing in a hot tub when painless spider bite quickly turned into a deadly degenerative skin disease.
"Didn't even feel it
", he told Classic Rock
). "But an hour later, I knew that I was ill.
It wasn't long before he could see his own flesh rotting while on the way to the hospital. "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.
It transpired that Hanneman had necrotizing fasciitis, a rare but very severe type of bacterial infection that can destroy the muscles, skin, and underlying tissue.
"Unbelivably, 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'
After emergency surgery and two months of skin grafts and treatment, the risk was onver - but his therapy was only beginning.
"I had to learn to walk again,
" Hanneman says: "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.