TESTAMENT‘s Alex Skolnick (pictured below) has commented on the recent announcement that SLAYER guitarist and co-founder Jeff Hanneman died on May 2 from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver.
Hanneman‘s official cause of death was revealed by his bandmates on May 9. In the statement, they also acknowledged Hanneman‘s “health struggles over the years” — including flesh-eating necrotizing fasciitis that rendered him unable to perform. But, the band said, “Jeff and those close to him were not aware of the true extent of his liver condition until the last days of his life.”
The statement added that Hanneman was not on a transplant list and that “by all accounts it appeared he had been improving — he was excited and looking forward to working on a new record.”
In a post on his official blog, Skolnick wrote: “To those of us able to enjoy alcoholic beverages in a controlled, non-health threatening (let along life-threatening) manner, it is difficult to comprehend what the vicious cycle must be like. The novel ‘Infinite Jest’ (1996, David Foster Wallace), has a powerful description by a character in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) who’s seeking help. It alludes to a certain point when the substance is no longer a source of fun, becoming ‘the only consolation against the pain of the mounting losses, and of course, you’re in denial about it being the substance that’s causing the very losses it’s consoling you about.’ We who’ve never experienced addiction to drugs and/or alcohol should consider ourselves very, very lucky.
“Too many lives have been lost and too many careers derailed because of addiction, a tragic circumstance that affects a significant segment of the population. More than a few prominent musicians, including many in the metal genre, are alive today and going strong career-wise because they’ve successfully sought treatment. Jeff‘s passing is a tragic reminder that those in need of rehabilitation from alcohol or drug addiction need all the help, encouragement and support they can get.”