Slayer Guitarist Jeff Hanneman Dies at 49

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Heavy metal band Slayer has confirmed that their guitarist and founding member, Jeff Hanneman, passed away today after suffering liver failure. He was 49.

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The band made the announcement via their website with the following statement: "Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM this morning near his Southern California home. 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 established the group in 1981 with guitarist Kerry King in Huntington Park, California. Slayer's major label debut album Reign In Blood hit the market in 1986, going on to sell millions of records and solidify the band as a pioneer of the heavy metal genre along with Metallica, Megadeath and Anthrax.

Some notable songs from the album are Angel of Death and Raining Blood -- both co-written by Hanneman.