Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman died unexpectedly at age 49, raising questions about the cause of the sudden death earlier this month just when he seemed to be recovering from a two-year battle with necrotizing fasciitis, popularly known as the flesh-eating bacteria. The death was especially frightening because the original source of the infected wound was a spider bite on his arm that went unnoticed and untreated until it was too late.
On Thursday, the official Slayer website released this information:
“[T]he official cause of Jeff’s death was alcohol related cirrhosis. While he had his health struggles over the years…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.”
Jeff Hanneman had conquered the spider bite and the resulting necrotizing fasciitis. Alas, he couldn’t beat the severe liver damage that led to his death in a Los Angeles hospital on May 2.
As I reported shortly after Jeff Hanneman’s untimely passing, the non-brown recluse species of spider found in California had never been known to kill any adult human. The early reports that such spiders might be deadly definitely shook up a few people and not just Slayer fans.
If you live in California and have a spider phobia, maybe you can sleep a little more easily tonight.
Now that speculation about Slayer guitarist Hanneman’s cause of death has been put to bed, close friends and family have turned to planning a celebration of his life to be scheduled later this month.
[Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman photo by Victoria Morse via Wikipedia Commons]