Slayer's Tom Araya and Kerry King are still mourning bandmate Jeff Hanneman's death. On Thursday, May 9, Araya and King paid tribute to the late Hanneman and remembered good times they spent with the guitarist, who died at the age of 49 on Thursday, May 2.
"When we first formed Slayer, we used to rehearse all the time, religiously, 24/7," Araya recalled in a statement posted on the band's official website. Jeff and I spent a lot of time hanging out together, he lived in my father's garage which was also our rehearsal space."
He added, "When he got his own apartment, he had an 8-track and I would go there to record songs I'd written, not Slayer songs, other stuff I'd written. At a certain point, you still have the band but you start your own lives outside of the band, so that 24/7 falls to the side, you don't spend as much time together as you once did. I miss those early days."
"I had so many great times with Jeff," King said. "In the early days when we were out on the road, he and I were the night owls, we would stay up all night on the bus, just hanging out, talking, watching movies... World War II movies, horror movies, we watched 'Full Metal Jacket' so many times, we could practically recite all of the dialogue."
In the statement, Slayer also confirmed that Hanneman didn't die from necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease caused by a spider bite. He died from alcohol-related cirrhosis. "Jeff and those close to him were not aware of the true extent of his liver condition until the last days of his life," the band wrote.
Meanwhile, a public memorial will be held to respect the late Hanneman. The band said, "Slayer wants its fans to know that there will be a celebration of Jeff Hanneman's life sometime later this month, along with Jeff's family and friends, the public will be invited to attend. More information will be posted here soon."
Araya and King weren't the only ones who remembered Hanneman. As a musician who had been working with Hanneman for years, Slash reacted to Hanneman's death, saying, "Tragic and shocking news about Jeff... Hanneman was the king of thrash metal guitar. The riffs and chord changes were genius. And that right hand blew my mind. Never heard anything quite like it."