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Slayer guitarist dies: Jeff Hanneman co-founded Slayer

Jeff Hanneman, guitarist and founder of Slayer, one of the 'Big Four' thrash metal bands of the 1980s, was reported dead by the Slayer website.

Laurent Gillieron / Keystone / AP / File
Heavy metal fans 'headbang' during the 3rd Sonisphere heavy metal music festival in Yverdon, Switzerland, Wednesday, May 30, 2012.

U.S. guitarist Jeff Hanneman, a co-founder of the seminal heavy metal band Slayer, died in Southern California on Thursday, the band said in a statement posted on their website. He was 49.

Hanneman founded Slayer with fellow guitarist Kerry King in the early 1980s in suburban Los Angeles. The band was known as one of the "big four" thrash metal groups of the 1980s, along with Anthrax, Megadeth, and Metallica.

The thrash metal genre was distinct for its extremely fast tempo, big double-bass drums, and dark themes, often dealing with Satanism, war, and serial killers.

Music website Allmusic.com said the band's trademark "full-throttle velocity, wildly chaotic guitar solos, and powerful musical chops paint an effectively chilling sonic background for their obsessive chronicling of the dark side."

Hanneman is best known as a writer of the songs "Raining Blood" and "Angel of Death" from the 1986 album "Reign of Blood," which is considered a landmark of the genre.

Hanneman is survived by his wife and three siblings.

(Editing by Paul Simao)

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