SLAYER Guitarist Jeff Hanneman Dead At 49

SLAYER2009 091.JPGSLAYER is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM this morning (May 2nd) near his Southern California home. He was 49. 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.

We offer condolences to Hanneman’s family, friends and legion of fans.

“Our Brother Jeff Hanneman, May He Rest In Peace (1964 – 2013)”

We’ve posted a photo album with many pictures of Jeff here.

Some of the condolences and tributes messages follow below…

Dave Lombardo@TheDaveLombardo
I’m deeply saddened shocked and speechless. It’s difficult for me to write my feelings at this moment. My heart goes out to #KathyHanneman.

“Jeff Hanneman. He played in Slayer. Jeff doesn’t want a moment of silence. He wants a moment of fucking noise.” – Kerry King at Golden Gods 2013

EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt – Gary has been filling in for Hanneman for the past two years while Hanneman recovered from necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease, has issued the following statement in the wake of his shocking passing:

“I’m at a loss for words. The news yesterday of Jeff’s passing hit me like a ton of bricks. Totally devastating sadness is all I have right now. ‘In shock’ are the best words I can come up with to describe how I’m feeling.

Jeff, it’s been an honor, my brother, to TRY my best to honor your songs best I could.

There is only one Jeff Hanneman. All I ever could HOPE to do was play those songs you wrote with the conviction with which you played and wrote them, ’cause there is only one of you; that mold was broken long ago.

My old friend, we had some amazing times on the greatest shows and tours I’ve ever done (VENOM, SLAYER, EXODUS, anyone?), young and hungry thrashers out to lay waste to everything, and had the best time ever while doing it. Exactly why we all started playing in the first place.

Much love and respect, and my deepest condolences to the Hanneman family and the whole Slayer family. Gone but NEVER forgotten and always missed. R.I.P.”

Dave Mustaine, Megadeth – “We send our condolences and deepest sympathies to the family, friends, and fans of Jeff Hanneman. Our hearts go out to his brothers in Slayer. Tonight one less star will be shining and sadly, the stage got just a little bit darker. Jeff Hanneman 1964-2013.”

OVERKILL – “Words cannot describe the devastating news about losing our metal brother Jeff Hanneman. Love you Jeff. You will never be forgotten.”

Voivod – “All of us feel sad today, our condolence to Jeff’s family and Slayer.”

Sacred Reich – “Slayer and Metallica are the best metal bands of our generation. If you are even thinking about posting a rebuttal, just un-friend me now. No hard feelings. The point is that all of us, musicians, fans, writers, photographers, label people owe a debt of gratitude to Jeff Hanneman. We owe him for enriching our lives. For making us scream at the top of our lungs. For hailing satan! For making us involuntarily bang our heads. For wanting to be involved in music. For starting a pit. For wanting to punch whoever is closest to us in the face while listening to Reign in Blood! Jeff Hanneman, I thank you, I salute you and I will miss you.”

Neil Portnow – President/CEO The Recording Academy – “Two-time Grammy winner Jeff Hanneman was an intense and powerful guitarist and a force to be reckoned with on stage. A founding member of the legendary metal band Slayer, he was a key architect in their ferocious and uncompromising sound, which earned the band legions of loyal followers, tremendous respect among their peers, and a lasting impact on the genre. The music industry has lost a true trailblazer, and our deepest sympathies go out to his family, his bandmates and fans around the world who mourn his untimely passing.”

TESTAMENT – “R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman, brother in thrash.”

METALLICA – “R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman”

“Well, it’s always difficult when you lose a metal brother, especially one that grew up in your area, grew up in your time zone, [was part of the] same genre, [had the] same goals in life… same everything,” METALLICA guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield

METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo: “I’ve gotta say Jeff Hanneman was an amazing human being. He was very low profile; he actually chose to lie low and just write some of the greatest riffs ever. So rest in peace, Jeff. We’re gonna miss you tremendously.”

HATEBREED – “We are extremely saddened by the news of Jeff Hanneman’s passing. Our deepest condolences to his family, friends, fans and the entire Slayer camp & their road crew. We would not be the band we are today without him & Slayer. Rest In Peace Jeff!”

Former ANTHRAX guitarist Dan Spitz – “Changing the world through music isn’t easy… Mission accomplished. Glad to be a part of all we did together through the years. RIP Jeff Hanneman.”

DOWN – “Our Brother Jeff Hanneman, May He Rest In Peace (1964 – 2013)”

ANVIL – “Anvil send their condolences to the Slayer and the Jeff Hanneman family. R.I.P.”

SUFFOCATION – “Rest in Peace Jeff Hanneman you will surely be missed.”

BIF NAKED – “We are Forever Devoted Fans!! Blessings to Jeff’s Family, to Slayer and crew, and to the millions of fans all over the world. LIFE IS TOO SHORT! We are so grateful to Jeff Hanneman for all the inspiration. Blessings. Namaste. Om Hare Om.”

Former NASHVILLE PUSSY bassist Karen Cuda – “Jeff Hanneman – I’m at a loss for words. Thanks for always laughing at my dumb jokes, thanks for your generosity in donating a bunch of signed Slayer stuff to help me with my neck surgery costs, thanks for making my bandmate so happy. I’m so sad to hear you’re gone! RIP buddy. (And for anyone inclined please stop by the Nashville Pussy page and send Ruyter some love. Her heart is no doubt broken to pieces.)”

MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson – “My condolences to Slayer and the Jeff Hanneman family today.”

HELLYEAH – “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Hanneman Family and Slayer. R.I.P. Our Friend”

IN FLAMES – “We are so devastated to hear about the passing of Jeff Hanneman. One of the greatest have passed on and please, stop for a moment and pay your respect to this fantastic man. This is a tragedy.”

SLASH bassist Todd Kerns – “Sad news about Jeff Hanneman. He was a good man.”

A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH – “Our thoughts are with the Hanneman family!”

ACCEPT – “Very sad day for the entire metal community. Our condolences to Jeff’s family and Slayer. R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman”

Death Angel – “R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman. Love & respect to the Slayer family.”

Oscar Dronjak, Hammerfall – “Jeff wasn’t even 50 years old, the world is less without him!”

BLOODBOUND – “R.I.P. JEFF HANNEMAN (SLAYER). This is a very sad day for metal 🙁  We send our condolences to Jeff’s family & Friends.”

Machine Head – “Still can’t believe the Jeff Hanneman from Slayer is dead, things like that just don’t happen. Thrashers don’t die??!! WTF!!??

I’m not going to sit here and say how him and I were best buds or something, we definitely weren’t, I’d barely call us acquaintances, I did 8 tours and over 120 shows with the dude and honestly, I never really got to “know him”. I was always closer with Kerry. Jeff was super quiet, really kept to himself, would get rowdy when he was drunk, but was a bit aloof, and seemed annoyed at the people partying around him despite the fact that he himself would be getting hammered.

I can remember some good hangs with him though. The first was in Basel, Switzerland back in November, 1994 when Machine Head was main support to Slayer on the Divine Intervention tour. It was one of those shows were something so random happens it just never leaves you, in this case, the show was sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes and every kid entering the show got 2 free packs of smokes. I’ve never seen so much smoke in a venue in my life. I remember walking onstage and yelling at our roadie / everything-guy Mike Scum, “DUDE, turn off the fuckin’ smoke machine”, he said “YOOOOO, it’s not the smoke machine bro, it’s the cigarettes!” It was damn near impossible to breath onstage. After the show we were hanging backstage and Jeff walked back, we started bitching about the crazy cigarette show, and he invited me back to the dressing room to grab a beer, we sat down and chatted for a while, and then I went all Slayer-nerd on him and started grilling him on what songs he wrote.

Me: “Who wrote Angel Of Death?”
Jeff: “I did”
Me: “Lyrics too?”
Jeff: “Yep”
Me: “Reign In Blood?”
Jeff: “Me”
Me: “Dead Skin Mask?”
Jeff: “Yep”
Me: “South Of Heaven?”
Jeff: “Me”
Me: “Black Magic?”
Jeff: “You know it”
Me: “Hell Awaits?”
Jeff: “Yep”

On and on it went, that man wrote both the music and lyrics to a large goddamn portion of my favorite Slayer songs. He was a huge influence on my songwriting growing up in particular with arrangements and the bold use of key changes. The one thing Slayer band always had over so many other bands is they were all over the guitar neck when it came to key changes. Leads would be in some of the most random keys ever, but somehow it made it all that much more frantic, and when the chorus kicked back in, BOOM! CRUSHING! Set up perfectly. He was one of the few metal heads I met who never really got into Pantera, he told me he “liked some stuff”, but thought they we’re “too bluesy at times”, and that he “liked more evil notes or sad riffs”

Another good memory was sharing a tour bus on the August 2001 Korean / Japan / Australia tour, it was all fly-dates and hotels, we were sharing crew, tour manager and manager, so we all rode on the bus together to and from the airport to the hotel every day. Sometimes the rides were an hour or two, so you’d just all BS and hang. One time a kid in Australia bum-rushed the bus while we were all sitting in it, hammered after partying one night. He was desperate for autographs and came on the bus screaming (what else?) “SLAAAAAAAAAYYYYYEEEEERRRR!!!” He then saw me and went all, “Oh shit, Robb Flynn, mate I fuckin’ LOVE Machine Head, but it’s fuckin’ SLAAAAAAAYYYYYYYEEEERRRRR” I looked the fucker right in the eye and slurred, “Oh just FUCK RIGHT OFF!!” Hannamen fell out dying, he laughed for 10 minutes straight, cracked him up, that slightly feminine high pitched giggle that he always did.

Dude backed me when Kerry King and I were beefin all that time long ago, he would come up to me at festivals and would talk, just be normal. He even backed me in Decibel magazine when they asked him about the beef, saying “Robb is a good dude”, and that “Kerry was like the girlfriend of the band, always beefin’ with someone”. I got a good laugh outta that.

The last memory I’ll share is from the American leg of the Divine Intervention tour in March 1995. It was Slayer band, Biohazard supporting, and Machine Head opening. We were playing the International Ballroom in Atlanta Georgia. He had been sitting out some of the new songs from “Divine”, which was odd to me. We were hanging out in their dressing room before the show, just him and I, and I mustered up the nerve to ask him what the deal with it was. At first he joked that he just “didn’t feel like learning them, didn’t like ’em, Kerry wrote them”, he was chuckling, and then he stopped. He looked down and got serious. He said he’d been having a lot of pain in his wrists, his hands and wrists were going numb all the time, and would go numb during those songs because they were really fast, then he started to cry. It was a startling confession. I offered some awkward feel-good comment, but he just continued to cry, and I decided to sit there in the silence with him for a minute. He gave me a hug, and said “Whoa!”, and laughed walked out toward the stage, turned back and said “thanks dude”.

It was an intense moment, one of those rare, intense moments you have with someone, let alone with someone from another band.

It made me really respect the dude.

That’s the Jeff I’m gonna remember.

To Kerry, Tom, Dave, Paul, Rick Sales Mgmt and Jeff’s family, my sincere condolences.

R.I.P brother.

– “Words cannot describe the devastating news about losing our metal brother Jeff Hanneman. Love you Jeff. You will never be forgotten.”

Anthrax, Charlie Benante: “Jeff had a great fucking laugh; I heard it quite a bit throughout the years. The man who wrote such lyrics as ‘feel the knife pierce you intensely’ had a great sense if humor. I will remember him for the music he gave and the intensity he brought our metal world.”

FEAR FACTORY has released the following statement regarding the passing of SLAYER axeman Jeff Hanneman:

“I’m extremely shocked and sad to hear about Jeff Hanneman. He was a huge influence on my playing when I was growing up. He wrote some of the best riffs and lyrics ever!!! Fucking ‘Reign In Blood’!!!

“My condolences go out to his family.

“We lost a true legend.”

Corey Taylor, Phil Anselmo, Lemmy, Rob Zombie and more pay tribute to Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman at the Golden Gods 5th Anniversary Show.



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