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KERRY KING: "We Always Thought JEFF HANNEMAN Would Come Back"

"It's crazy because he was actually getting better."

Jeff Hanneman
Victoria Morse, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Jeff Hanneman went on hiatus from Slayer in 2011 during a serious battle with necrotizing fasciitis and sadly never returned. Despite recovering from the ailment in 2012, Hanneman still battled health issues and died of liver failure on May 2, 2013. Slayer would carry on for another few years with Exodus guitarist Gary Holt permanently filling in for Hanneman, and ultimately wrapped up their career in 2019.

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In a new interview with Metal Hammer, Slayer guitarist Kerry King revealed that Hanneman got fairly close to making a return but never quite got there.

"It's crazy because he was actually getting better," said King. Personally, I think that had he gone forward for a couple more weeks and not been drinking, maybe he would have gotten back to where he needed to be to do an entire Slayer show again. We always thought he would come back. It just never materialised."

King later added that Slayer encouraged Hanneman to take the proper time to heal, and to get back to a point where he could properly perform.

"He wanted nothing more than to come back and be onstage and perform. And he was progressing, but not far enough to where he could nail the fast stuff. We were like, 'Listen dude. Everyone wants you to be playing with us, but we gotta have you performing at the level that everybody's used to seeing you at.'"

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Despite having passed away, Hanneman still contributed to the final Slayer album Repentless in 2015 with the song "Piano Wire". King confirmed at the time that Hanneman didn't actually play on the song, but did write the music.

"Jeff Hanneman isn't physically playing on [Repentless]. Somebody reported some bullshit. People say shit when they don't know what's actually going on. Even though Jeff's song, 'Piano Wire', was recorded during the last album cycle, I played all the guitar. I've been doing that for years. Since he has no lead on that song, he's not on it."

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