More information on the passing of Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman has been revealed, as a public celebration of his life is currently being worked out for later in May on a date to be determined, alongside his family and friends. This will be open to the public and more information will be announced shortly.
This information comes after the controversial religious group the Westboro Parish Church were threatening to protest outside of Hanneman’s funeral and sing a crassly parodied version of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train,” with outraged Slayer fans planning a counter protest.
The official cause of Hanneman’s death was revealed as alcohol related cirrhosis. He reportedly has had health issues over the past few years, including the Necrotizing fasciitis infection from a spider bite from a couple of years ago, but his immediate friends and family were unaware of his liver condition and was not on a transplant list at any time. Until his untimely passing, it was thought his condition was improving and was excited and looking forward to working on Slayer’s next record.
Many artists from the heavy music world, as well as fans have paid tribute to Hanneman and Slayer over the past week in a variety of ways, showing their love for the band and the music that influenced countless bands over the years.
Original members, guitarist Kerry King and vocalist/bassist Tom Araya made their first statements about Hanneman’s passing and shared some of their fondest memories:
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.”