Jeff Hanneman, rhythm and lead guitarist for legendary metal group Slayer, died this morning at the age 49 due to liver failure.

The band posted the news to its Facebook page, noting that Hanneman was at a hospital near his Southern California home when he passed away around 11 a.m. Hanneman, born in 1964, was one of Slayer's founding members.

"Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away... He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry, and will be sorely missed." At press time, about 20,000 fans had posted their condolences to the page.

Slayer had dozens of headlining summer tour and festival dates lined up for 2013, which will be doubtlessly effected by Hanneman's death.

Hanneman started Slayer with Kerry King in 1981.