Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman has died after suffering liver failure. He was 49.

The founding member of the band passed away in California on Thursday (02May13).

A statement from the group's publicist reads, "Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM this morning near his Southern California home. He was 49.

"Hanneman was in an area hospital when he suffered liver failure... and will be sorely missed."

Hanneman fell seriously ill in 2011 after he was bitten by a spider - he almost lost his arm and was placed in a medically-induced coma. The star subsequently underwent several operations to remove the dead and dying tissue from his arm and pulled out of Slayer's 2012 tour dates to continue his treatment.

The guitarist co-founded the thrash metal band with Kerry King in 1981. Their breakthrough came five years later (86) with the release of the landmark album Reign in Blood.