Jeff Hannaman, the Grammy-winning guitarist for heavy metal band Slayer, died of liver failure in a Southern California hospital Thursday, the band said in a statement. He was 49.

"Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11 a.m. this morning near his Southern California home," read the statement posted to both the band's website and Facebook page. "Hanneman was in an area hospital when he suffered liver failure."

Hanneman was one of the founding members of Slayer, who arrived on the metal scene in 1981. Their breakout album, Reign in Blood, arrived in 1856 with hits "Angel of Death" and "Raining Blood". Both were penned by Hanneman. Over their three decades as a band, they released 10 studio albums and played thousands of shows. Slayer won Grammys for best metal performance in both 2006 and 2007.

Well respected in the metal world, Hanneman's death has caused at outpouring of praise for the late musician on Twitter from fellow metal musicians." Jeff Hanneman will always be a metal god," wrote rocker Andrew WK. "A true master, he gave energy and excitement to millions, and will continue to. #PartyForSlayer."


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Hanneman is survived by his wife, Kathy, two brothers and a sister.

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