The fragile health of Jeff Hanneman - guitarist/founder of Cali thrash-metal pioneers Slayer, who developed flesh-eating disease last year after being bitten by a spider - continues to be tenuous. It's now sidelined his from touring this summer.
A report in Britain's NME says Hanneman will continue convalescing for the foreseeable. The band issued an update on Hanneman's condition yesterday and revealed that the guitarist came very close to having his arm amputated.
They wrote on Facebook.com/Slayer: "As you know, Jeff was bitten by a spider more than a year ago, but what you may not have known was that for a couple of days after he went to the ER, things were touch-and-go."
They continued: "There was talk that he might have to have his arm amputated, and we didn’t know if he was going to pull through at all. He was in a medically-induced coma for a few days and had several operations to remove the dead and dying tissue from his arm."
Ugh. Hanneman's battle with necrotizing fasciitis - which destroys skin, fat and tissue from below the surface of the body – has been low-key for much of the last 12 months. And doubtless heroic: in writing about Hanneman's recovering, Slayer adds that he had been forced to learn to walk again and undergo several skin graft operations.
They wrote: "It’s been about a year since he got out of the hospital, and since then, he had to learn to walk again, he’s had several painful skin grafts, he’s been in rehab doing exercises to regain the strength in his arm. But best of all, he’s been playing guitar."
Wow. Wow. That is so heavy, especially for a guy who makes his living playing guitar. Slayer has announced that Exodus guitarist Gary Holt will sub in for Hanneman during the scheduled summer shows, while confirming work on a new album.
"We also wanted you to know that we’ve been doing some writing and recording for the next Slayer album – we've tracked a few songs, and will finish the album when we’re off the road later this year."