It is a sad day indeed for the metal community as news of the death of guitarist & founding member of trash metal icons Slayer comes in. Just 49 years old, Jeff died Thursday (May 2) of liver failure. Hanneman, a huge fan of punk initially and who comes from a family which has a lot of war veterans in them, and Kerry King founded the group in 1981 after King was trying out for another band. Kerry soon introduced Jeff to drummer Dave Lombardo and recruited Chilean-born bassist and vocalist Tom Araya, who had played with King before in the band Quits (previously known as Tradewinds).
Initially the band started out playing covers of Iron Maiden & Judas Priest, going for a Satanic image which featured pentagrams, make-up, spikes, and inverted crosses. Over the years since their 1983 debut, the band went on to produce 11 studio albums and toured the world many times. Jeff has won 2 Grammies and been nominated another 3 more times with Slayer in the category “Best metal performance”.
Jeff was born in Oakland, California to a German family. His father father fought in Normandy on the side of the Allied Forced during World War II and his brothers in Vietnam, making warfare a common conversation topic at the dinner table. His interest would be spurred by a love for war movies and he also collected war memorabilia and medals. Hanneman and Slayer vocalist/bassist Tom Araya were reformed cocaine and pill abusers. In early 2011, Hanneman contracted necrotizing fasciitis, which doctors say most likely originated from a spider bite. He withdrew from touring at the same time due to the debilitating skin disorder. Although he recovered from the disease in 2012, Kerry revealed continuing health problems that kept him from working with Slayer. It is not know if the skin ailment is connected to his liver failure that led to his death.
RIP Jeff Hanneman (January 31, 1964 – May 2, 2013