Slayer guitarist and founding member Jeff Hanneman died earlier today of liver failure. He was 49.
The band's longtime publicist issued the following statement today:
"Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM this morning near his Southern California home. He was 49. Hanneman was in an area hospital when he suffered liver failure. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry, and will be sorely missed."
Hanneman co-founded the thrash metal greats with Kerry King in 1981; their breakthrough came in 1986 with the landmark album "Reign in Blood." Hanneman wrote or co-wrote the set's standout tracks, "Angel of Death" and "Raining Blood."