Jeff Hanneman died Thursday at around 11 AM after an agonizing two year struggle with necrotizing fasciitis, popularly known as the flesh-eating bacteria. The long, slow death of the 49-year-old Slayer guitarist has raised questions about just how dangerous a spider bite — the reported source of the infection — can be.
Slayer spokeswoman Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald said she believed that the lingering complications of the spider bite did in fact lead to the liver failure that caused Hanneman’s death.
As The Inquisitr reported yesterday, Hanneman was already being treated in a southern California hospital when he died. He’s been in and out of treatment ever since he was diagnosed with the infection in his arm in early 2011.
He almost lost the infected arm and had to have infected areas removed to save the healthy flesh.
The CDC said that necrotizing fasciitis is a rare disease, which is just as well. They said that you’re highly unlikely to get it if you “practice good wound care,” but how do you practice wound care when it’s a spider bite that you don’t even remember getting?
Fortunately, they said that there are less than 1,000 cases of the flesh-eating skin disease reported in the United States every year.
People with strong immune systems are least likely to get the disease. However, people with immune systems weakened by alcohol or drug abuse can have a higher risk.
Most spider bites don’t kill healthy adults. According to eMedicine, brown recluse spiders have only killed children under the age of seven. The non-brown recluse spider found in California, which we have to presume is the species most likely to have bitten the California resident, has never previously been reported to kill any adult.
At the time of writing, the funeral arrangements hadn’t been announced. Nor do we know yet if there will be an autopsy to learn more about Jeff Hanneman’s death.
[Jeff Hanneman photo by Victoria Morse via Wikipedia Commons]