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Jeff Hanneman
© AP / Courtesy of Slayer -- Jeff Hanneman
Spider bite called pivotal in Slayer guitarist's death
By DERRIK J. LANG, AP Entertainment Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman thought he was on the mend after a spider bite followed by an infection. He'd been writing songs with the band in anticipation of recording a new album later this year.

But in an unusual chain of events, a representative for the band said, the bite may have contributed to Hanneman's death more than two years later.

Hanneman died Thursday morning of liver failure at a Los Angeles hospital with his wife, Kathy, by his side, according to Slayer spokeswoman Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald. He was 49.

Family members and doctors were not immediately available to discuss the cause of death.

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Robinson-Fitzgerald said Hanneman had been slowly recovering from necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease that nearly cost him his arm. Such an infection can develop from a minor cut or scratch. Robinson-Fitzgerald blamed the spider bite, for which he failed to seek immediate treatment.

Infections by flesh-eating bacteria are rare. The affliction can destroy muscle, fat and skin and may require surgery to remove the diseased tissue to save a patient's life.

Hanneman had several operations to remove dead and dying tissue from his arm, the band said on its website last year.

The government estimates roughly 750 flesh-eating bacteria cases occur each year, usually caused by a type of strep germ. About 1 in 5 people with the most common kind of flesh-eating strep bacteria die.

People with weakened immune systems can be more at risk.

Flesh-eating bacteria, by itself, doesn't cause liver failure. But at least one type of strep bacteria can cause streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, which can lead to liver failure.

It is unclear whether an autopsy will be scheduled. No funeral arrangements have been made.

"Jeff Hanneman will always be a metal god," rocker Andrew W.K. posted on Twitter.

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

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
78Comments
May 10, 2013 1:26PM
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If the bite was from a recluse spider, it could well have caused his death. The recluse spider's venom causes gangrene, which, if not treated by surgery, is fatal.
May 6, 2013 11:28AM
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You guys f'ing kill me!!! Does it really matter how he died??? All that should matter is that, a great musician who made a great contribution to the music industry has past away!!! But noooooo you guys have got to get your slams in. Ya know when you live in glass houses, rocks tend to get thrown back at you. You don't know what he said before he died. He might have said...God forgive me!!!  But I suggest the next time you go to make a comment, knowing it's going to be a slam, look in the mirror first!!!
May 5, 2013 8:51AM
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I wish I hadn't jokingly called that spider bite his "Welcome to Michigan" a couple years ago, I never thought it would play a role in the end of his life... :'(
May 4, 2013 10:37PM
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I bet he's not blaspheming Jesus Christ anymore.  Be careful, people, of what comes from your pen and/or mouth.  You sure didn't create yourself, nor the world in which you live.  Afterall, this man did state he'd rather have Satan than Jesus. No disrespect when I say, his wish finally came true. "Jesus is the Rock and He rules, still!"
May 4, 2013 2:02PM
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sitting up their with jimi having a nice jam,nothing wrong with that

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