Slayer's Jeff Hanneman to miss the band's summer tour as he battles flesh-eating disease
Guitarist is still recovering from necrotizing fasciitis and won't make their summer shows
Hanneman contracted necrotizing fasciitis last year after being bitten by a spider and has been battling the disease, which destroys skin, fat and tissue from below the surface of the body, ever since.
The band issued an update on Hanneman's condition last night and revealed that the guitarist came very close to having his arm amputated.
They wrote on their official Facebook page 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."
Writing about Hanneman's recovery, the band revealed that their six-stringer 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."
The thrash giants then confirmed that while Hanneman's condition is much improved, he needs more time to recover and they will be joined by Exodus guitarist Gary Holt for their summer shows.
They added: "While Jeff’s been doing some writing and has been coming to rehearsal over the past several weeks, he has decided he needs to take more time to continue his rehab. While we want him back onstage with the band, all of us support his decision. So, we’re very grateful that Gary Holt will continue to fill in for Jeff, and will tour with us until Jeff completes his rehab and is ready to return."
The band also confirmed that the recording of their new album is underway, adding: "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."
Slayer will headline All Tomorrow's Parties offshoot festival I'll Be Your Mirror, performing their classic 1986 album 'Reign In Blood' in full as part of their headline set. The metallers will play the festival at b]London[/b]'s Alexandra Palace on May 25.