As the metal world continues to grieve the loss of Jeff Hanneman, an official cause of death has been released. It’s been confirmed that though the guitarist had been sidelined for over two years due to a Necrotizing fasciitis infection cause by a spider bite, Hanneman reportedly died from alcohol related cirrhosis.
Some began to speculate that Hanneman had been on a transplant list at the time of his passing. However, Slayer’s official statement claims that neither Hanneman nor those close to him were aware of the true extent of his liver condition until the last days of his life. Hanneman had apparently even been showing signs of improvement and was supposedly excited to start work on a new Slayer record.
In the wake of this news, Kerry King and Tom Araya shared a few of their favorite memories of their fallen bandmate in an official statement (just a few hours after confirming plans to move forward with their European tour). Here’s what the two had to share:
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.”
Noticeably absent from the above statement is estranged drummer Dave Lombardo. Shortly after news of Hanneman’s death was confirmed, though, Lombardo tweeted “I’m deeply saddened shocked and speechless. It’s difficult for me to write my feelings at this moment. My heart goes out to #KathyHanneman.”
Slayer’s official statement also confirmed plans for a celebration of Hanneman’s life to take place sometime later this month with his friends and family. More information about said celebration will be revealed soon, but it will be open to the public. While we know Slayer will return to the road this summer for a European tour, it remains unclear as to what this means Slayer’s long-awaited new album, or long term plans for that matter. However, it’s only been a week since Hanneman’s death, and it’s safe to say that Slayer (even Lombardo) are still in a state of shock.