Slayer Issue Official Statement on Jeff Hanneman's Death

The guitarist's cause of death reveals a secret alcohol problem. In this statement, his former bandmate share their closest memories of him.

Ultimate Guitar

Slayer have spoken for the first time since announcing the death of founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who passed away last week at the age of 49.

A statement on the band's Facebook page reveals his cause of death as alcohol related liver cirrhosis.

While he had his health struggles over the years, including the recent Necrotizing fasciitis infection that devastated his well-being, 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," said the band.

The the same message, frontman Tom Araya and guitarist Kerry King share their favorite memories of Hanneman. Founding drummer Dave Lombardo who was recently kicked out of the band ahead of a major tour was absent from the official statement, but he's shared comments and photos of Hanneman elsewhere which you can also read below.

Tom Araya: "When we first formed Slayer, we used to rehearse all the time, religiously, 24/7. Jeff and I spent a lot of time hanging out together, he lived in my father's garage which was also our rehearsal space.

"At a certain point, you still have the band but you start your own lives outside of the band, so that 24/7 falls to the side, you don't spend as much time together as you once did. I miss those early days.

"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."

Kerry King: "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."

"He was a gigantic World War II buff ... Jeff and I went to one of Moscow's military museums. I'll never forget him walking around that place, looking at all of the tanks, weapons and other exhibits. He was like a kid on Christmas morning. But that was Jeff's thing, he knew so much about WW II history, he could have taught it in school."

Dave Lombardo: "This picture was taken at the Troubadour in Hollywood around 1982. Jeff was the guy that shaved his head and shared the music he was so inspired by. I enjoyed Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, Black Flag and the Germs with him. My drumming was getting faster and Jeff was writing original songs with a Punk attitude. The fusion of Heavy Metal and Punk took over Slayers early mediocre style, hence a new force was born. Thank you Jeff for your inspiring discovery of Punk rock that has continued to shape my personal drumming style."

23 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Will be missed , Slayer ain't Slayer without Jeff . Thankfully we haven't had some kind of celebrity drama regarding the effects of his drinking , wish more people would be like Jeff and keep their private life private , and not feel the need to pass comment on every little bit of tittle tattle . Class guy met him in 91 in Newcastle really happy to chat to the fans . The best thing about the gig was baiting Kerry about his bald patch , the memory of Jeff legs astride during the intro to South of Heaven , hard one to match . R.I.P Jeff
    You know, sad as the article is, I love it when band members wax nostalgic and talk about their good times together. Makes me want to keep my own band going.
    My heart sank a little bit when i was reading this.Im not even the biggest slayer fan either. Its the suddeness of it all thats makes it so sad.
    Yesterday when I read this on Facebook, they didn't have anything said by Dave. I was a little pissed about that.
    Dave Lombardo left Slayer, Jeff Hanneman passed away. What's next to Slayer? I hope Dave comes back to Slayer,because he's the best drummer(in my opinion)in all thrash metal. RIP Brother!
    You really don't know what you've got till it's gone. I hope Jeff's passing is a wake-up call that Dave has been a brother for the past 30 years, and you don't just abandon family over contractual-disputes. --- I doubt Slayer ever reads this, but if they do: Many fans will probably forgive the bullshit if you re-hire Dave and make one more album dedicated to Jeff and his legacy, then disband. It's not like you guys still have a mountain to climb. You've already reached super-stardom. You're already at the summit. It's probably time to settle down.
    So sad... his playing was an inspiration to me when I first started playing guitar. I can remember being 12 years old and using a cassette recorder to record "War Ensemble" off of the TV during Headbanger's Ball. They were the heaviest, fastest most evil sounding band I had ever heard at the time. RIP Jeff Hanneman!
    Sad, and was hoping it was not alcohol-related, but can't say I'm surprised.
    Lee Makky
    No matter who you are, or what you do, 49 is way too early to pass away. Especially if you are as much of a legend and inspiration, as Jeff Hanneman. R.I.P
    Slayer was one of the first ever metal bands I got into, they totally turned my life around! RIP Jeff, we'll all miss you so much.
    A couple days ago I saw a Heineken TV ad with Kerry King in it. I wonder if it feels strange to promote drinking hard liquor as some sort of badass thing to do now. The ad would appeal to 17 year olds by the look of it.
    Talk of the good old days is what keeps great memories alive. Think about how much music and people he inspired with his playing and he was still only 49. Such a short life. RIP.
    I hope they can finish up the tour they're currently doing and get the album they were planning on working on done and I don't know...dedicate it to Jeff or something. And then afterwards officially call it quits as a band. I mean Jeff was a big part of what made Slayer Slayer. And without him it wouldn't be the same.
    Jeff R.I.P. You will be missed. Thank you for all the Slayer years. I am a big fan. Slayer is a big part of my life. Hope you are up in Heaven. Tom and Dave are praying for you. I will keep you in my prayers.