SLAYER's estranged drummer Dave Lombardo has commented on the passing of the band's guitarist 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.
Said Lombardo via Twitter: "I'm deeply saddened, shocked and speechless. It's difficult for me to write my feelings at this moment. My heart goes out to Kathy Hanneman."
Lombardo sat out SLAYER's recent Australian tour due to a contract dispute with the other members of the group. Filling in for him was Jon Dette (TESTAMENT, ANTHRAX).
Asked if he will be sitting behind the kit for SLAYER when they return to Europe this summer, Lombardo told Greece's Rock Overdose: "I don't know yet. I hope to be there, but at this point, I don't know if I'm returning or not." He added. "I love my fans so much and they've been so supportive through the years; they've always been there. And their concern and sadness for what happened in Australia is more than I could have ever imagined fans to react. It's unbelievable. I just love my fans and I hope to continue playing for them. This is all I do. This is my life. I don't do anything else. I don't have a snakefarm, I don't have a farm with cows… I'm not like that. Music is my passion and my life, and this is all I do. So for the fans to be this nice and kind and concerned, I just love them."
Hanneman 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. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry.