In early 2011, Hanneman contracted necrotizing fasciitis. Reports linked this illness with a spider bite he claimed to have received while in a friend’s hot tub.
In light of his illness and Slayer’s upcoming participation in the Australian Soundwave Festival tour that was set to begin on February 26, 2011, the band made the decision to play the dates without Hanneman, and on February 16, 2011, brought on Gary Holt (guitarist of the band Exodus) to fill in for him. Pat O’Brien joined as Slayer’s temporary second guitarist when Holt left the tour to play with Exodus. In 2012, bandmate Tom Araya announced a recovery from the disease. However, later in February 2013, Kerry King revealed continuing health problems that kept Hanneman from working.
Hanneman died of liver failure on May 2, 2013, in a Southern California hospital near his home. On May 9, 2013, the official cause of death was announced as alcohol-related cirrhosis. Hanneman and his family had apparently been unaware of the extent of the condition until shortly before his death