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Slayer Guitarist Jeff Hanneman Dies of Liver Failure at Age 49

Slayer has announced that founding member and guitarist Jeff Hanneman died Thursday from liver failure. He was 49.

A statement posted onto the band's website Thursday reads, "Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM this morning near his Southern California home. Hanneman was in an area hospital when he suffered liver failure. He is survived by his wife Kathy , his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry , and will be sorely missed."

Hanneman had been taking time off from the band since 2011, after contracting a flesh-eating disease, necrotizing fasciitis, from a spider bite. It's unclear if his battle with the disease contributed to his death.

Papa Roach is among the rock acts that have paid their respects on Twitter, writing , "We're saddened by the death of @Slayer guitarist, Jeff Hanneman. Our prayers and best wishes to Slayer and Jeff's family."

Hanneman founded Slayer with fellow guitarist Kerry King in 1981.

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