Jeff Hanneman, guitarist and founding member of legendary American metal band Slayer, died of liver failure today in California. He was 49.

Hanneman's band members released the news a short while ago on the Slayer Facebook page, writing, "Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM this morning near his Southern California home."

Hanneman had stopped touring in 2011 after coming down with necrotizing fasciitis, a degenerative skin infection he reportedly contracted after suffering a spider bite. Though he would occasionally make surprise appearances with Slayer over the next couple years, a regimen of surgeries and skin grafts sidelined him most of the time.

Hanneman had formed Slayer in Huntington Park, California, with fellow guitarist Kerry King when they were still teenagers. This year marked their 32-year anniversary as a band.

[Image via Flickr user ozz13x]