Did a spider bite kill Slayer guitarist?

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In terms of rock n roll deaths it might go down as one of the strangest. Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman has died at 49 of liver failure, but band sources connected the death to a spider bite the heavy metal star had suffered three years previously.

Lethal spider bites might sound like the stuff of the more outlandish hard rock lyricist, but the band's website has identified the bite as the source of Hanneman's health problems. It reported that Hanneman "had contracted necrotizing fasciitis likely caused by a spider bite and has been undergoing surgeries, skin grafts and intense rehab since."

Investigating the story, CNN spoke to Tennessee spider-bite specialist Dr Donna Seger. The doctor said that spider bites can not cause organ failure directly, but that related infections could have serious consequences. "It's really important that spider bites are understood," she told the news channel. "There are so many urban legends about, you know, you get a spider bite and your limb falls off and you die. That doesn't happen."

Until medical reports are available, the exact cause of Hanneman's death remains subject to conjecture. The guitarist was a founder member of Slayer in 1981. Within five years they were internationally successful and influential leaders of the thrash metal sub-genre.

Hanneman was a hugely respected musician among the heavy metal and thrash fraternity who were quick to pay tribute on Twitter. Slash, the former Guns 'n' Roses guitarist tweeted: "Tragic and shocking news about Jeff Hanneman. He is going to be missed by so man. What a sad day for metal. RIP man." Hatebreed belied their name by sending out "deepest condolences to family, friends, fans and all the Slayer family." "Jeff Hanneman will always be a metal god," Andrew WK tweeted. "A true master, he gave energy and excitement to millions."

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