A gallery of photos from last Thursday's (May 23) public memorial celebration for SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, California can be found at DirtJunior.com. Also available is a one-hour video recap of the event.
Members of SLAYER released a statement on May 9 saying that Hanneman died of alcohol-related cirrhosis. He is credited for writing many of the band's classic songs, including "Angel Of Death" and "South Of Heaven".
The guitarist, who passed away in Los Angeles on May 2, 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.
Hanneman recalled in a 2011 interview with Classic Rock magazine that he initially didn't even feel the spider bite, adding, "But an hour later, I knew that I was ill. I could see the flesh corrupting. The arm was real hot. I got to the emergency room, and thank god the nurse knew straight away what it was . . . At that point, I was an hour away from death."
Hanneman was well known for his aversion to the spotlight, avoiding interviews and even turning off his phone when he was not on tour to spend time with his family. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry.
SLAYER was founded in 1981 in Los Angeles and went on to become one of most popular bands of the speed/thrash metal movement, eventually being considered one of the "Big Four" alongside METALLICA, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX.
While never a band that got any substantial radio airplay, the group has long been considered a major influence on the metal genre and acclaimed as one of the best live metal acts of the past 30 years.
SLAYER guitarist Kerry King received a huge ovation from the crowd at the Revolver Golden Gods awards show on May 2 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, where he said that Hanneman would have wanted "noise" rather than a moment of silence and then drank two shots in his bandmate's honor.
SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo sat out the band'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).
Photo credit: DirtJunior.com