Posted on May 2, 2013 AT 05:14pm
… I’m not even going to try and be professional about this.
It is with a heavy heart and utter disbelief that I type these words, that Jeff Hanneman, original member and guitarist of Slayer has passed away at 49 years old today, May 02, 2013. This year was already starting off rough with the loss of Chi Cheng and now we lose one of the sickest guitarists in thrash metal history. This is the man that penned Angel of Death, Raining Blood, Mandatory Suicide and has had a huge number of writing credits with Tom Araya; one of my favorites being Hallowed Point.
Just today Slayer’s publicist released this statement:
“Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM this morning near his Southern California home. He was 49. Hanneman was in an area hospital when he suffered liver failure. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry, and will be sorely missed.”
It’s one of the most unbelievable things to happen this year, especially considering how long Slayer has been in the game.
Everyone was hoping for a full on recovery ever since Jeff got bit by a spider and contracted necrotizing fasciitis. There had been reports that he had been recovering since then, even that he had been doing rehab to recover from the extensive damage and tissue loss. So to hear this, as a metalhead and most importantly a long time fan of Slayer… it breaks my heart…
I can only speak on what I know and have experienced at this point, but the reason why this hits me the way it does is because Slayer was one of the most important bands of my young life. My cousin introduced me to Slayer just as I was approaching my freshman year of high school. The first albums he played for me were God Hates Us All, Seasons In The Abyss and Diabolus in Musica. Regardless of what anyone thought about those albums, they were what got me started along with new friends introducing me to songs like Raining Blood and South of Heaven. It was what brought us together in spite of all the bullshit we were putting up in our lives. These songs and the albums stuck with me… I was ecstatic when a girlfriend at the time bought me a Slayer t-shirt… and then, just because one of my best friends wanted to… He took me to see Slayer LIVE at the Aragon Ballroom for the Unholy Alliance Tour; an absolutely unreal experience that I can never forget. For me, Slayer was what helped me with my identity as a metal fan and a human being. In a world where being a strange minority that didn’t fit in with his own kind, much less anyone else. Slayer’s music was home to me and gave me a strength that no church or motivational speaker had been capable of. They were one of the few thrash bands from the era that could honestly say they “still got it” in the current era. Even with a couple of slouchy albums, they came back with the ferocity that most long standing bands WISH they could have. Still spreading fire and blasphemy the best way they knew how…
Donning my Reign in Blood t-shirt and raising my horns to the sky, I shout proudly amongst my metal siblings: REST IN POWER, Jeff Hanneman!
Readers, fans, do you have any awesome Slayer & Jeff Hanneman stories to share? Tell us about it in the comments below. As for me, I’m going to be blasting Slayer for the month of May.
I leave you all with one of the finest songs that Jeff wrote: Angel of Death
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