It's been one week since the tragic loss of Slayer guitarist, Jeff Hanneman, who passed away due to liver failure. It was assumed that his 2011 spider bite and resulting flesh-eating disease, necrotizing fasciitis, was what eventually lead to his death, but a new report by a physician questions that theory.
In a report issued by the Washington Post last week, long time Slayer publicist Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald said it was believed that the spider bite was what caused Hanneman's liver failure:
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. She said he was bitten while in a friend’s hot tub.
The Gauntlet allegedly spoke to people close to the fallen Slayer guitarist, saying that it was alcohol that caused his death with Hanneman "drinking Heineken and vodka for breakfast, lunch and dinner up until a few months ago." The Gauntlet also reported that Hanneman was put on a liver transplant list before passing.
The facts became much more real with a new report published on The Daily Beast by Dr. Kent Sepkowitz, who suggests that it wasn't the necrotizing fasciitis that caused the liver disease, but most likely the other way around:
The necrotizing fasciitis and the liver failure both are awful – but despite the tidiness of the narrative suggesting that the old necrotizing fasciitis caused the new liver failure, the story is exactly the opposite: people with severe underlying medical problems, such as chronic liver disease, are at increased risk for necrotizing fasciitis. So rather than the 2011 illness influencing his death, it is more likely that the very illness that killed him – liver failure – was the same condition that predisposed him to the near-death experience two years ago.
The article goes on to suggest that Hanneman probably suffered from liver disease and probably didn't even know about it until after being bit. The article goes into some facts, worth reading if you're into the science of it all.
At this time, no autopsy was scheduled, so we might not know what actually caused Hanneman's death? Ultimately, at this point, does it really matter? We lost a legendary guitarist. Watch some of Hanneman's peers in Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth and more share their fond memories of Jeff.