Jeff Hanneman, founding member and lead guitarist of the metal group Slayer, passed away this morning around 11 AM from liver failure.

In 1981, he and Kerry King founded Slayer; five years and one encounter with Rick Rubin later, they released Reign in Blood on Def Jam records. The album is widely considered the band's masterpiece, and Hanneman wrote or co-wrote many of its key songs, including opener "Angel of Death" and "Raining Blood."

The musician was staying in a hospital in Southern California. The following message was posted on the band's Facebook wall.

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