SLAYER's official Facebook page has been updated with the following message:"Today would have been [late SLAYER guitarist] Jeff Hanneman's 50th birthday, presenting us with another reminder of how much we all miss him since he passed last May 2. "The entire SLAYER family appreciates the fans' tributes and recognition of the trails Jeff blazed in thrash metal and the songs he wrote that defined a genre. "We — the fans, the press, the SLAYER family — know what Jeff's accomplishments were, we know the long-lasting effect his talent will continue to have on young musicians just starting their careers. "Jeff Hanneman belongs to US, the rebels, the misfits, the mavericks, the ones who go left when everyone else goes right, the ones who push against the grain and introduce real change into the world — just like Jeff did. "Happy birthday, Jeff!" Jeff Hanneman died last year from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. He is credited for writing many of SLAYER's classic songs, including "Angel Of Death" and "South Of Heaven". The guitarist, who passed away in Los Angeles on May 2, 2013, had actually not been playing with SLAYER for more than two years since he contracted necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating disease, from a spider bite in his backyard in January 2011. The infection ravaged the flesh and tissues of Hanneman's arm, leading to numerous surgeries, skin grafts and intense periods of rehab that forced him into semi-retirement and left him near death at several points. Hanneman's last appearance with SLAYER was in April 2011, when he played an encore with the band at the "Big Four" concert in Indio, California.
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