Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman has been forced to pull out of the band's forthcoming world tour due to complications from a spider bite. "While Jeff's been doing some writing and has been coming to rehearsal over the past several weeks, he has decided he needs to take more time to continue his rehab," the band announced in a message to fans on their official website.
Hanneman contracted necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease, from a spider bite over a year ago. According to the band's message, the guitarist came close to having his arm amputated, was put in a medically-induced coma to treat the condition and has had several operations and skin grafts to remove and replace his dead or decaying flesh. Despite all of this, things have been looking relatively positive for Hanneman. "He's been in rehab doing exercises to regain the strength in his arm, but best of all, he's been playing guitar," the band reports. Hanneman, who had to relearn how to walk, joined the band on stage for their encore at the Big Four festival in California last year.
Exodus guitarist Gary Holt will fill in for Hanneman on the band's summer tour, which begins in London on May 25th. The band is hopeful that Hanneman will return to record a new album later this year, but they made it clear they are willing to wait "as long as it takes" for the guitarist to fully recover.