Jeff Hanneman passed away Thursday at 49, the cause was liver failure. Hanneman is best known as a founding member of Bay Area thrash band Slayer in 1982. He performed with Slayer until 2011, having to cut his participation due to necrotizing fasciitis—a flesh eating disease—which doctors believed could’ve been caused by a spider bite. Hanneman never stopped working towards a return to the legendary band as he underwent skin grafts and rehab.
Growing up in a military family, Hanneman had an interest in war, history, and the violence of war and these would be trademarks of his lyrical contributions to Slayer. His career in metal saw him on every Slayer full length release and writing several of the bands most famous songs such as Angel of Death, South of Heaven, Raining Blood, and War Ensemble. These songs along with the band’s skill and dual signatures of speed and fury led to Slayer becoming one of the pivotal thrash metal acts of 80s along with Megadeth, Metallica, and Anthrax.
Hanneman was instantly noticeable by his stage presence and trademark Oakland Raiders jerseys and “Hanneman” Heinken logo guitar. His last stage performace was a guest appearance with Slayer at 2011’s The Big Four Festival in Indivo, California.With the band he helped form and steer, he played Angel of Death and South of Heaven.