The Westboro Baptist Church has announced that they plan to protest the funeral of Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman.
The fundamentalist Christian group has a history of picketing outside funerals of dead US soldiers and concerts of artists, with Radiohead and Foo Fighters being past victims of their attention-seeking hatred. The group plan to perform their cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Crazy Train’ at the funeral.
Since the announcement, many Slayer fans have begun organising a counter picket to drown out the controversial religious organisation, with some suggesting arming themselves with red-paint-filled water balloons to throw at the group. Jeff Hanneman’s funeral arrangements are yet to be made.
Hanneman, aged just 49, died from liver failure in a California hospital on the morning of May 2. It is believed the guitarist was suffering from necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease that he is believed to have contracted from a spider bite.
Friends and fellow musicians took to social media to post their tributes to the Slayer guitarist and founding member. Posting his tribute on Twitter, Slash wrote: “Tragic & shocking news about Jeff Hanneman. He is going to missed by so many. What a sad day for Metal. RIP man.” Meanwhile, his former Guns ‘N’ Roses bandmate Duff McKagen wrote: “Jeff Hanneman of @Slayer RIP. Wow. I’m so very sorry for your loss Hanneman family.” Elsewhere, Megadeth guitarist Dave Mustaine summed up his feelings for Hanneman by stating: “Tonight one less star will be shining and sadly, the stage got just a little bit darker. Jeff Hanneman 1964-2013.”
It was not just the metal world paying tribute to Hanneman, with Grimes, Nick Zinner and Theo Hutchcraft of Hurts speaking out and showing their respect for the guitarist. Ryan Adams also made his feelings known, tweeting: “RIP Jeff Hanneman Sad day for #Slayer fans.”