Tom Araya has recalled his last memories of late Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman, and reveals that his old friend had been writing new music before his death.
Sadly, he adds that their relationship grew more distant as Jeff's depression set in after his battle with a flesh-eating disease from a spider bite left him unable to play guitar. Jeff died on May 2 from alcohol-related liver cirrhosis.
"I had been texting with him, and he even sent me a song that he had been working on. So it seemed like he was doing okay," Araya told Guitar World (via Blabbermouth). "But when I got the call that he was back in intensive care, I became concerned. Eventually he stopped responding to my texts. It was like a one-sided conversation."
Araya says he had to hang up the phone and cry when Slayer's manager called him with news of Jeff's death. "It hit my family hard, because they really liked Jeff. My mother was really upset, my sisters loved Jeff, and my brother too - he was Jeff's tech for a long time," he said.
The Guitar World feature includes insightful comments from others in Jeff's life, including his wife Kathryn who suggests that Jeff's problems may go further back than his infamous spider bite, to the death of his father in 2008.
"That's when things really started to go downhill for him," said Kathryn. "It was probably the hardest thing he ever had to face in his entire life. When I met Jeff, he didn't have all that great of a relationship with his father. But as time went on, they became very close. So that took a toll on him. He was never quite the same after that. I just don't think he cared anymore."