Even though SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman died last year from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver, he was excluded from the list of faces and names showcased during Grammy Awards’ “In Memoriam” segment last night (Sunday, January 26). Other notable hard rock and heavy metal musicians who passed away in 2013 but weren’t recognized at last night’s event included former IRON MAIDEN drummer Clive Burr and VIXEN’s founding guitarist Jan Kuehnemund.
SLAYER has been nominated for a “Best Metal Performance” Grammy Award five times and has won twice: in 2007 for “Eyes Of The Insane” and in 2008 for “Final Six”.
When SLIPKNOT bassist Paul Gray and TYPE O NEGATIVE’s Peter Steele failed to make the “In Memoriam” segment in 2011, less than a year after both of them passed away, Neil Portnow, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), addressed the issue of stars being left out, saying that the “‘In Memoriam’ segment is a real connundrum, because we keep a list — and it’s a sad job — of when we lose people in our industry, actually, starting this past week [for next year’s awards show], because if it’s very late, it’s not something we can factor in. And this past year  we had over 300 people in the industry pass, and many of them — all of them — important, so we have to, at the end of the day, make a selection, and you can’t get everybody there, and we try to have a broad represenation of different genres and generations and so on. We’re never happy with how that exactly turns out, [but] we have the list of everybody [who died] in our program book every year.”
Hanneman is credited for writing many of SLAYER’s classic songs, including “Angel Of Death” and “South Of Heaven”.
The guitarist, who passed away in Los Angeles on May 2, 2013, had actually not been playing with SLAYER for more than two years since he contracted necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating disease, from a spider bite in his backyard in January 2011. The infection ravaged the flesh and tissues of Hanneman’s arm, leading to numerous surgeries, skin grafts and intense periods of rehab that forced him into semi-retirement and left him near death at several points.
Hanneman’s last appearance with SLAYER was in April 2011, when he played an encore with the band at the “Big Four” concert in Indio, California.