Jeff Hanneman, Guitarist for Slayer, Dies at Age 49

Jeff Hanneman Dead at 49: Slayer Founder/Guitarist Suffered Liver Failure
Jeff Hanneman
Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns/Getty

05/02/2013 AT 08:15 PM EDT

Jeff Hanneman, a founding member and guitarist for the thrash metal band Slayer, died Thursday of liver failure. He was 49.

Formed in 1981 by Hanneman and fellow guitarist Kerry King in Huntington Park, Calif., Slayer fused heavy metal and punk and joined Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax as the leading bands of the genre.

Slayer made its major label debut in 1986 with Reign In Blood, featuring the Hanneman co-written songs "Angel of Death" and "Raining Blood," and went on to sell millions of records.

His death was announced on Slayer's official website:

"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."
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