Slayer have confirmed that guitarist Jeff Hanneman died yesterday at the age of 49. He suffered liver failure while in a hospital near his California home.
He'd been struggling with health issues since a near-fatal spider bite in 2011, which had kept him sidelined ever since. The official statement says:
"Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11am this morning. He was in an area hospital.
"He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry, and will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace."
Hanneman co-founded the band with fellow guitarist Kerry King in 1981 and alongside frontman Tom Araya and drummer Dave Lombardo they rose to become one of the Big 4 of thrash metal following their 1986 breakthrough album “Rein In Blood.”