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Slayer’s Jeff Hanneman Died of Alcohol-Related Cirrhosis; Band + Family Planning Memorial Event

Jeff Hanneman
Dave Etheridge-Barnes, Getty Images

Following last week’s tragic passing of Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman on May 2, his official cause of death has been revealed to be alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver, according to a statement from the band. In the same press release, Slayer also announced that a public memorial will be held to honor Hanneman at a yet-to-be-revealed date.

While it has been known that Hanneman was battling the disease necrotizing fasciitis, which he likely contracted from a 2011 spider bite, the band has revealed that the guitarist’s struggles with alcohol addiction is what ultimately led to his passing.

The post on Slayer’s official website reads as follows:

We’ve just learned that the official cause of Jeff’s death was alcohol related 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.

As mentioned, the band also announced that a public memorial will be held to honor Hanneman, who was a legendary figure in the heavy metal world. Here is the description of the upcoming event:

While the details are being worked out now, Slayer wants its fans to know that there will be a celebration of Jeff Hanneman’s life sometime later this month, along with Jeff’s family and friends, the public will be invited to attend. More information will be posted here soon.

Finally, the band released statements from guitarist Kerry King and singer-bassist Tom Araya, who for the most part had remained silent on Hanneman’s death until now:

Kerry King and Tom Araya are trying to deal with the loss of their brother by remembering some the good times they shared.

KERRY: “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.”

TOM: “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. When he got his own apartment, he had an 8-track and I would go there to record songs I’d written, not Slayer songs, other stuff I’d written. 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.”

KERRY: “He was a gigantic World War II buff, his father served in that war, so when Slayer played Russia for the first time – I think it was 1998 – 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.”

TOM: “We were in New York recording South of Heaven. Jeff and I were at the hotel and we had to get to the studio – I think it was called Chung King, a real rundown place. So we left the hotel and decided to walk, but then it started raining. We walked maybe five blocks, and it was raining so hard, we were totally soaked, so we decided to get a cab. Here we are, two dudes with long hair and leather jackets, absolutely soaked, thumbing to the studio. No one would stop. We had to walk the entire way.”

TOM: “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.”

Phil Anselmo, Corey Taylor + More Remember Jeff Hanneman

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