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Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman dies at 49

10:09 PM, May 2, 2013   |    comments
  • Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman performs during the Jagermeister Fall Music Tour at The Pearl concert theater at the Palms Casino Resort October 20, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
  • Jeff Hanneman of Slayer performs on stage on at the third and final day of this year's Download Festival at Donington Park, Castle Donington on June 12, 2005 in Leicestershire, England. The annual rock festival features over 90 acts on three stages over three days. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Jeff Hanneman, a founding member of the heavy metal band Slayer, has died. He was 49.

Slayer spokeswoman Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald says Hanneman died Thursday morning of liver failure at a Los Angeles hospital with his wife, Kathy, by his side.

The guitarist had recently begun writing songs with the band in anticipation of recording a new album later this year. He had been slowly recovering from what was believed to be a spider bite that nearly cost him his arm after he failed to seek immediate treatment.

Robinson-Fitzgerald says it's believed the bite contributed to the failure of his liver, but it is unclear whether an autopsy will be scheduled. No funeral arrangements have been made.

Hanneman co-founded the thrash metal pioneers in Huntington Beach, Calif., in 1982.

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