Guitarist Gary Holt of San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal veterans EXODUS has commented on the passing of SLAYER axeman Jeff Hanneman, who died at about 11 a.m. yesterday (Thursday, May 2) near his Southern California home. He was 49. Hanneman was in an area hospital when he suffered liver failure.Holt has spent the last two years filling in for Hanneman who had been on hiatus from SLAYER since early 2011, when he contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease that doctors believed might have been caused by a spider bite. Hanneman almost lost his arm, and was briefly placed in a medically induced coma. After a series of skin grafts, he had been working on his physical rehabilitation. Said Holt: "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."