Slayer Guitarist's Death Was Alcohol-Related

By Valerie Tejeda 05/10/13

The band announces that Jeff Hanneman died from cirrhosis, not from a spider bite.

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Jeff Hanneman and his Heineken guitar.
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Slayer guitarist and heavy metal icon Jeff Hanneman died of alcohol-related liver disease, not from a spider bite, the band announced on their website. It was initially reported that the rocker's recent death, at 49, was the result of a rare and deadly skin disease that he contracted from a spider bite two years ago. "We've just learned that the official cause of Jeff's death was alcohol-related cirrhosis," says the statement, "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." Hanneman—Slayer's founding member—had admitted to abusing "uppers and downers" during the band's heyday in the '80s, but after spiraling into cocaine addiction, he quit hard drugs entirely. "I just drink alcohol now," he said in 2004. The legendary guitarist was such a fan of Heineken, he had a guitar designed after the beer's logo. Hanneman had been off the road since 2011, following his near-fatal bout with necrotizing fasciitis. But it reportedly had appeared that his health was improving, and he was looking forward to working on a new record. "Jeff was a lifeline of Slayer," said bassist Tom Araya, "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."

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix, Salon.com, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.