Necrotizing fasciitis, more infamously known as "flesh-eating disease", has forced hard rock group Slayer to head into the upcoming tour without guitarist Jeff Hanneman.

The 47-year-old reportedly contracted the disease from a spider bite on his right arm and has since been hospitalized.

In a statement issued to, Slayer frontman Tom Araya says, "Jeff is our brother; we've all been friends and together as a band for almost 30 years. We just want him to recover as soon as possible."

Necrotizing fasciitis, while rare, is a nasty disease — described by emedicine as "an insidiously advancing soft tissue infection characterized by widespread fascial necrosis." Unlike its nickname, the bacteria do not actually consume human flesh, but rather release toxins that destroy skin and muscle. 

Removal of the infected tissue through aggressive surgery is the only treatment. Amputation, as well as death, are not uncommon in advanced stages of the disease.

With Hanneman's blessing, Slayer has decided to push forward with tour plans, hiring a guest guitarist to fill his role while he recovers.

"Jeff is totally on board with the decision, so we will tour as planned," said lead guitarist Kerry King. "We can’t pinpoint what day he’ll be back, but it will be as soon as he possibly can. We can’t wait for him to get better and get his ass back on the road."

Our best to Hanneman as he recovers from this infection.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Slayer guitarist contracts flesh-eating disease
Jeff Hanneman is forced to pull out of upcoming tour after being hospitalized with necrotizing fasciitis, a rare infection.