Jeff Hanneman, guitarist and founding member of heavy metal band Slayer, dies at 49

9:39 AM, May 3, 2013   |    comments
This 2009 publicity photo provided courtesy of Slayer shows, from left, Dave Lombardo, Kerry King, Jeff Hanneman and Tom Araya. Hanneman, 49, a founding member of the heavy metal band Slayer, has died. Slayer spokeswoman Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald says Hanneman died Thursday morning, May 2, 2013, of liver failure at a Los Angeles hospital with his wife, Kathy, by his side. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Slayer, Mark Seliger)
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(USA Today)-- Thrash metal guitar god Jeff Hanneman has died from liver failure.

The 49-year-old founding member of Slayer was hospitalized in Southern California, according to the band's Facebook page. "Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother ... passed away at about 11 a.m. this morning," says the statement posted Thursday evening.

The musician hadn't been on the road with Slayer since 2011, when he contracted 
necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease, most likely brought on by a spider bite. It's unclear whether that illness was connected to his death.

Fellow musicians quickly tweeted their condolences. "RIP TO A TITAN OF METAL," wrote Disturbed vocalist David Draiman on Twitter. "WOW ... I'm in shock," tweeted former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy. Black Label Society and Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zykk Wylde wrote, "RIP brother. You will be missed."

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