Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman's cause of death has been established by a coroner as alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver – and not as a result of flesh-eating disease Necrotizing fasciitis as previously reported.
Tributes to the American thrash metal guitarist, who died aged 40, have been posted on the Slayer website by his bandmates, who also confirmed the coroner’s verdict.
The statement read: “We've just learned that the official cause of Jeff's death was alcohol related cirrhosis. While he had his health struggles over the years, including the recent Necrotizing fasciitis infection that devastated his well-being, Jeff and those close to him were not aware of the true extent of his liver condition until the last days of his life.”
It added: “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.”
Hanneman, who wrote songs “Raining Blood” and “Angel of Death”, founded Slayer with fellow guitarist Kerry King in the early 1980s. The group was among the “big four” thrash metal groups of the era alongside Megadeth, Metallica and Anthrax.
He was bitten by a spider in 2010 and he spent most of the following year battling a rare tissue infection Necrotizing fasciitis. He had several operations to remove the dead and dying tissue from his arm, was in a medically induced coma for several days and had to learn how to walk again during months of physical rehabilitation.
After reports of Hanneman's death surfaced last week it was widely reported that his death from liver failure was connected to the flesh-eating disease. But this has been contradicted by the coroner's report.
Writing on the Slayer website yesterday the band shared some of their memories of Hanneman. Bassist Tom Araya called Hanneman “a lifeline of Slayer” adding “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."
Fellow guitarist Kerry King said: “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.”