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Slayer’s Tom Araya Recalls Learning About Bandmate Jeff Hanneman’s Passing

Tom Araya
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

We were recently given the privilege of speaking with Slayer frontman Tom Araya for an exclusive interview. Our chat with Araya was truly unique, as you’ll see while we roll out more and more of the interview in the very near future. In this portion of our talk, Araya opened up to reveal the moment he heard that Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman had passed away.

Slayer fans, along with Araya himself, were very optimistic about Jeff Hanneman’s recovery from necrotizing fasciitis, which is why the guitarist’s death came as such a shock. Unbeknownst to the public, Hanneman was suffering from liver failure, as well, which led to his passing on May 2, 2013.

We recently broke the news that Slayer will be delving into Hanneman’s audio archives with the hope of injecting Hanneman’s never-before-heard works into the band’s next album. Up until his death, Jeff was working on music for Slayer, having sent one full new song to Araya prior to Hanneman’s passing. During our interview with Tom Araya, he took us back five months, detailing Jeff’s health and how the frontman heard of Hanneman’s passing.

“I was at home,” begins Araya. “First off, I knew that he was back in intensive care. I had communicated to him while he was in intensive care via text and, like I said, he had passed on that song to everybody so I was able to communicate with him and tell him I had heard the song and that I thought it was great and that I was gonna start listening to it and see if anything comes as far as song ideas. Later on, I was made aware of the fact that his health wasn’t very well. I was always hopefully and optimistic, so I would send him texts asking him how he was doing and that I hoped he was getting better and that I can’t wait to start working on new ideas with him.”

The Slayer frontman continues, “A week later, I got the call saying that he had passed away and I was like, What?’ By all accounts, it seemed like everything was on an upswing, so to hear that, it kind of floored me. I think it floored everybody. It floored our manager; he was the one who called me. It’s one of those things you don’t want to believe.”

Stay tuned for the rest of our exclusive interview with Slayer’s Tom Araya and keep on the lookout for news on Slayer’s next studio album.

Slayer's Jeff Hanneman, 1964 - 2013

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