Friday, May 10, 2013


Last week, Jeff Hanneman, guitarist of the heavy metal band Slayer, died in a California hospital at the age of 49. He was recovering from Necrotizing Fasciitis, a skin disease he contracted from a spider bite last year. But the actual cause of death was released yesterday: alcohol related cirrhosis. When he was hospitalized, not even his wife or close friends were aware of just how bad his liver condition was.

Although Slayer never released official numbers, their record sales are estimated to be in the 20 millions. Since forming in the 1980s, the band produced over a dozen albums and received two Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance in 2007 and 2008.

Hanneman leaves behind Kathryn, his wife and partner of almost thirty years. She rarely toured with the band since the guitarist said he liked coming home to a "new" woman after being on the road. The couple had no children.

Cirrhosis occurs when healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue and nodules (lumps caused by poor tissue regeneration). Although hepatitis and fatty liver disease can cause cirrhosis, most cases are due to alcoholism. It kills approximately 25-30,000 people in the U.S. every year. But millions are affected worldwide.

In 2012, researchers at the Russian Academy of Sciences announced a possible cure for cirrhosis. The drug apparently helps stem cells rejuvenate healthy liver tissue. Pre-clinical trials and followup tests are expected to take at least five years.

And on that note ... TGIF.  Stay healthy this weekend!