Slayer Guitarist Jeff Hanneman Passes Away at 49

Thrash icons co-founder dies near his Southern California home after suffering a liver failure; metal community left devastated.

Ultimate Guitar

We are sad to inform you that Slayer guitarist and co-founder Jeff Hanneman has passed away yesterday (May 2) after suffering a liver failure near his home in Southern California. He was 49.

"Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11 a.m. this morning near his Southern California home. 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," reads the official announcement.

Metal community was quick to react to shocking news, with fans and musicians from around the globe giving their condolences. As the composer of such timeless metal classics as "Angel of Death," "Raining Blood," "Seasons in the Abyss" and "War Ensemble" Hanneman will forever be remembered as one of the metal greats.

After co-founding Slayer with Kerry King in 1981 and releasing a total of ten studio albums, Hanneman stopped performing with the group in 2011 after contracting necrotizing fasciitis, a severe flesh eating disease, from a supposed spider bite.

We have lost a true giant. Rest in peace Jeff Hanneman.

Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM this...

Slayer (@Slayer) May 2, 2013

Jeff Hanneman of @slayer RIP. Wow. I'm so very soory for your loss Hanneman family.

Duff McKagan (@DuffMcKagan) 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 Jeff Hanneman. Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at...

Pantera (@Pantera) May 2, 2013

R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman, brother in thrash.

Testament (@testament) May 2, 2013

Sad news. RIP JH. He'll be remembered at #GoldenGods@blabbermouthnet: SLAYER Guitarist JEFF HANNEMAN Dead At 49

Alex Skolnick (@AlexSkolnick) May 2, 2013

Wow... I just heard some really sad news .R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman

Robert Caggiano (@RobCaggiano) May 2, 2013

WOW....I'm in shock...RIP Jeff

Mike Portnoy (@MikePortnoy) May 2, 2013

R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman

Dimmu Borgir (@dimmuborgir) May 2, 2013

We are so sorry to hear of the passing of Jeff Hanneman of @slayer.Our condolences to his family and friends.

Queensrÿche (@queensryche) May 2, 2013

Just found out Jeff Hanneman has passed away. What a sad day for us metal fans. He will truly be missed. My heart goes out to Kerry and co.

The Boogie Knight (@CoreyTaylorRock) May 2, 2013



sad to hear of jeff hanneman passing. R.I.P.@slayer

Geezer Butler (@GZRMusic) May 2, 2013

Brutal news about Jeff. Like a punch in the gut. Tonight will be a proper send off for our brother. #GoldenGods

Scott Ian (@Scott_Ian) May 3, 2013

Just heard the sad news about Jeff Hanneman of Slayer.My condolences to his family,the band and all his friends and fans..RIP

Nikki Sixx (@NikkiSixx) May 3, 2013

#RIP Jeff Hanneman your playing/riffs had a major influence on many growing up. Peace n strength to all of your loved ones.Thx 4 the tunes

Payable On Death (@POD) May 3, 2013

Our condolence to the entire @slayer family #RIPJeff RT @paradisecity Slayer Guitarist Jeff Hanneman Dead at 49 #gnr

Guns N' Roses (@gunsnroses) May 3, 2013

RIP Jeff Hanneman.One of the greatest songwriters in all of metal let alone music.Our hearts go out to his family and band mates.

Machine Head (@MfnH) May 3, 2013

Tonight one less star will be shining and sadly, the stage got just a little bit darker. Jeff Hanneman 1964-2013.

Dave Mustaine (@DaveMustaine) May 3, 2013

242 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Fuck, this is sad... not a huge fan of Slayer, but Jeff's influence on the music and community of metal is undeniable, and whether it was a complication of the disease caused by the spider bite or something else, he passed on much too early. Rest in peace, Jeff, you will be missed. My condolences to his family and friends.
    Apparently it was liver failure, which doesn't usually happen over night. Wonder if the others were keeping it under wraps or if they didn't actually know? Well either way tragic news. May he rock out forever South of Heaven
    This is a Very dark day for metal, and metal fans worldwide. His guitar playing and performance were fast, chaotic, and reflected the lyrics. And if i see a f*cker who says that "god's getting back at him for the satanic lyrics" , i'll be under your bed tonight.
    Could it be that the spider bite venom reached the liver through the blood current? That spider was 2 years ago anyway, I don't have the knowledge to see if that could possibly have caused or played a major role in that failure
    Battery Chicken
    Jeff was suffering from the bacterial infection that comes along with a brown recluse bite, not from the venom itself.
    well, liver neutralize poison (or tries to) when it gets into the organism. So I'm not so sure about spider bite but ye, It might have damaged it back in the day. Who knows what was exactly the reason. Still, sad news
    And don't forget that medicine he took to fight the disease could've also had its effect on liver.
    Whoever hit the like button on this article is a douchebag
    If anything, it would be out of respect for him. Hopefully
    I was actually wondering about that... Do you 'like' articles like this to show that you care? Or is it better to down vote these articles to show it? I'm never sure...
    Some people say they "like" because they "like" to be informed, rather than "like" what actually happened! Maybe some silly people said they liked because they hate SLayer but that's another story!
    His arm is in pretty bad shape in that image. Extremely sad and shocked to hear the news. RIP Jeff, you are and have always been a legend! Thanks for everything!
    The doctors have confirmed that the spider bite was involved in the liver failure. I'm not sure how, but that is the cause. I'm sure having an endorsement deal with Heineken didn't help his liver at all.
    a friend informed me of Jeff's passing...what? No way. Had to come here to witness the sad reality. What will become of Slayer? Heart of the band must be very heavy. R.I.P. to a true natural metal songwriter. Much condolences to all who have lost a loved one.
    No1 Slayer fan
    this is really inappropriate and I hate myself for chuckling. RIP JH
    If you are going to troll an article, at least be a man and do it using your actual account. Not a Slayer fan, but I had MUCH more respect for Jeff than the rest of the band. Sad day for metal, RIP
    It's a dark day for the metal community. Hasn't been this dark since Dio died :*( Well, looks like my neighbors are listening to Reign in Blood and Seasons, whether they want to or not!
    Jeff would have wanted you to burst some eardrums in his name. RIP Jeff, Slayer will never be the same.
    Also, not to instantly start bashing Kerry and Tom, but with both Jeff and Dave out of the picture, this will probably be the final nail in the coffin for Slayer in the future. Sad.
    ZOSO <(")
    I was just thinking the exact same thing. When/if this new album gets finished I hope it kicks ass.
    F--k, it's terrible. Not a fan, but their contribution to metal genre is really huge. Rest in peace, Mr. Hanneman. Big 4 will be incomplete now.
    ZOSO <(")
    Slayer quit the big-4 a while ago. But we know what you mean.
    No matter if Slayer are in Big 4 or out - Big 4 is always Slayer/Metallica/Megadeth/Anthrax. No Hanneman - no true Big 4.
    You could say the same for Metallica after Burton passed This is really, really sad but I doubt it'll be the end of Slayer. If they replaced Freddy Mercury, Rob Halford, Syd Barrett, David Lee Roth, Ozzy Osbourne... Some of those lineups I really like, some of 'em make me go "LORD, this is just a sad sight..." Whether a band decides to opt for the Zeppelin approach (call its quits immediately, only to get to gether to pay tribute or on very special occasions) or the Rush approach (look for a proper replacement and risk either losing the magic or succeeding and making a lot of fans happy) I hate it when people get all personal after a lineup change, as if being a fan entitles you to have a say in what a musician should do with his/her life after a dear one passes away. If people want to see the embarrassment that is the current Guns ' N Roses lineup, for god's sake let 'em Whatever happens with Slayer, I wish those guys the best R.I.P.
    What is the Rush approach? Haven't they only ever replaced their first drummer? Was it really a big deal at the time?
    Yeah you're right, perhaps Pink Floyd or AC/DC would've been better examples
    I don't know Jeff wrote most of the good stuff, Slayer may continue but I doubt there will be another good studio album.
    Quit the big 4? Them and Anthrax were the only REAL ones left! The only ones that didn't get castrated.
    After years in the wilderness, Megadeth came back with a vengeance.
    I think they've all been doing very well recently, aside from Mustaine and his crazy rants. But that's neither here nor there. R.I.P. Jeff
    Bummed about this. Jeff Hanneman was one of the guys who inspired me to start playing guitar. I moved away from Slayer as I got older, but Reign in Blood, South of Heaven, and Seasons in the Abyss still get rotation in my CD changer on a regular basis. I always preferred Jeff's playing over Kerry's in Slayer, anything they write from here on out just won't be the same without his contributions. R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman. May your legacy live forever. P.S. Dave Mustaine is kind of a jerk a lot of the time, but his tweet was actually rather nice.
    I second that on Dave's tweet, his tweet seemed more real then the blanket tweets from the others.
    Same thing here, South of Heaven is the first song I learned to play back in the days on my lil Squier. RIP Jeff.
    I woke up when my friends called me and told the news.. I am crushed, cannot sleep anymore
    I just woke up, broke down in the middle of the road, and then I hear Jeff Hanneman has died. This is a really dark day, especially for Metal and music itself. R.I.P. Jeff.
    That's bullshit, this guy contributed so much to the metal scene. I'm so sorry for him, he didn't deserved to pass the last two years of his life coping with all that spiderbite shit
    "Tonight one less star will be shining and sadly, the stage got just a little bit darker. Jeff Hanneman 1964-2013." It's been a while since Dave has said something so beautiful, and something everyone can agree on. RIP Jeff, you've earned your place among the legends.
    I've seen Slayer live on 5 occasions. All 5 times with Jeff. Truly a remarkable player and songwriter. His memory will undoubtably live on through his work. RIP Jeff. Horns up!
    I will be pointing the bottle up for Jeff tonight for sure. A lot of us grew up in the 80's when Jeff and Co gave us so many of our dreams and memories with his riffs and songs! He will be missed very deeply. Jeff, when your up there sitting on one of those cushy clouds show them all how it is to rock like hell! Horns up brother, always may you rest in peace!
    I couldn't sleep last night. Rest In Peace Jeff, glad I could see you live a couple years ago.
    He was the driving force behind SLayer, wrote all the fan favourites. I guess this is the end os Slayer. Fuck I'll miss him.
    I think it's really impressive to see the amount of tweets about his passing and how honest and well meant they are - from so many different genres and generations in metal. Shows something about community in the metal scene for sure.
    RIP to a metal god. Pretty lame knowing that I missed seeing him live by one damn show! Stupid spider...
    Slayer was one of the first metal bands I listened to back in junior high. His lightning fast guitar work introduced me to the sounds of thrash, along Reign In Blood, a record I think still sets the standard in the genre. RIP, good sir, I salute you. \m/
    Damn! A true loss for all thrash fans all over the world. My condolances to his family and friends. Thank you Jeff for your inspiration,your unique style and great riffs. Many of us grew up with Slayer and many of us picked up a guitar and tried to play like you did... no one ever got even close... R.I.P
    Jeff is one of the main reasons I play guitar. I loved his tone & in your face style. RIP bud. Hope you and Dimebag are having a blast.
    Actually cried when I found out this morning! He was such an influence to everyone, the world not not be the same without him and it never will be again! RIP my Hero.
    I think its time for me to start practicing Slayer again. RIP Jeff. I managed to see you and Slayer live only once at Sonisphere festival, but what a gig that was. Not only did my neck get sore from all the headbanging but a violent thunder and downburst storm struck right after they finished, destroying everything. That is a day I remember forever. Cheers Jeff, cheers Slayer...
    Man, woke up and checked my Facebook feed, and saw a bunch of messages about Jeff Hannemans passing. Not a huge fan of Slayer either, as many has stated. But given their status in the metal community, and their immense influence, I'll raise a glass for the guys tonight. Strange how a person's death, whom you didn't know personally, can send chills down your spine.
    A legend of the metal scene has sadly left us. Slayer seems a bit incomplete now without Jeff and Dave..... R.I.P Jeff.
    Heaven (or rather... Hell?) has the best band lineup of all time. Ronnie James Dio - Vocals Dimebag - Guitars Jeff Hanneman - Guitars Cliff Burton - Bass Gar Samuelson - Drums
    None of them are in Hell because none of them were evil. Music is no different to making satanic movies or writing satanic books. It's all fiction or based on true events. End of the day (like it or dislike it), it's art. They weren't bad men, any of them. Those Baptist nuts are the ones going to Hell, if there is such a place.
    gee, man. you're taking my comment too seriously. anyways, I'll be blasting off Angel of Death in Jeff's honor
    Rest in Peace... thanks for all the great music you have made in Slayer this is really horrible news you shall be missed
    You read about deaths all the time, but this really kind of knocked the wind out of me. Despite the past two years and the apparant doubt with the rest of the guys in Slayer I was always convinced we'd see Jeff back on stage with them eventualy. Guess he'll be teaching the devil how to play Seasons in the Abyss and getting the party going down there for the rest of us.
    Because of people like him I started to play guitar.Jeff was a true inspiration! R.I.P.
    I've been listening to Slayer all day when I heard this dark news. Jeff was (and always will be) one of the greatest metal guitarists ever known. RIP Jeff.
    Sad news for the metal community indeed, not a hardcore fan of Slayer but I'm really aware of Jeff's influence in the scene. RIP.
    Such a monumental and unexpected loss. R.I.P Jeff Hanneman. What a loss for Slayer too, essentially the key figure behind their music.
    Saw Slayer about a month ago, and they just weren't the same without him. Now to know that he will never be coming back is heartbreaking. My band and I aren't good enough to play Slayer, but we're gonna pay tribute somehow. Rest in Peace, Jeff. May you thrash til eternity at the great gig in the sky.
    Heaven's house band just got one hell of a guitarist. And thats one hell of a house band. Ronnie James Dio, Dimebag Darrell, Jeff Hanneman, Cliff Burton.....