Legendary VELVET REVOLVER/ex-GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Slash (pictured below) has paid tribute to SLAYER axeman Jeff Hanneman, who passed away on May 2 from liver failure at the age of 49.In a statement to LA Weekly, Slash said: "For me, Jeff Hanneman was the king of thrash/speed metal guitar. SLAYER was the first speed metal band I ever listened to; the riffs and chord changes were genius. And that right hand blew my mind. Never heard anything quite like it." Members of SLAYER released a statement on Thursday (May 9) saying that Hanneman died of alcohol-related cirrhosis. Hanneman 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.