LOS ANGELES (AP) — Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman thought he was on the mend after a spider bite followed by an infection. He'd been writing songs with the band in anticipation of recording a new album later this year.
But in an unusual chain of events, a representative for the band said the bite may have contributed to Hanneman's death more than two years later.
Hanneman died Thursday morning of liver failure at a Los Angeles hospital with his wife, Kathy, by his side, according to Slayer spokeswoman Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald. He was 49.
Family members and doctors were not immediately available to discuss the cause of death.
Robinson-Fitzgerald said Hanneman had been slowly recovering from necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease that nearly cost him his arm. Such an infection can develop from a minor cut or scratch; Robinson-Fitzgerald blamed the spider bite, for which he failed to seek immediate treatment. She said he was bitten while in a friend's hot tub.
Infections by flesh-eating bacteria are rare. The affliction can destroy muscle, fat and skin and may require surgery to remove the diseased tissue to save a patient's life.
Hanneman had several operations to remove dead and dying tissue from his arm, the band said on its website last year.
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