Richest CelebritiesRock Stars
Net Worth:
$10 Million
Jan 31, 1964 - May 2, 2013 (49 years old)
6 ft (1.83 m)
Guitarist, Songwriter, Musician
United States of America
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What was Jeff Hanneman's Net Worth?

Jeff Hanneman was an American musician who had a net worth of $10 million at the time of his death. Jeff Hanneman is best known as a founding member and guitarist of the thrash metal band Slayer. He also composed both music and lyrics for each of the band's albums until his passing in 2013, writing such fan-favorite tracks as "Angel of Death," "Raining Blood," "War Ensemble," and "Seasons in the Abyss." Considered one of the greatest heavy metal guitarists of all time, Hanneman had his own signature guitar created by ESP Guitars.

Early Life

Jeff Hanneman was born on January 31, 1964 in Long Beach, California into a military family. His father had fought in Normandy during World War II, and his brothers were soldiers in Vietnam. This made Hanneman incredibly interested in warfare and military history. Meanwhile, he was introduced to heavy metal music through his older sister Mary, who was listening to Black Sabbath when he was visiting her house.


While working as a telemarketer in 1981, Hanneman met fellow guitarist Kerry King at an audition for a southern rock band called Ledger. They subsequently started jamming together. Hanneman and King – along with bassist Tom Araya and neighborhood drummer Dave Lombardo – went on to form Slayer. Originally, the band played covers of metal songs, and brandished an image characterized by Satanic themes. After record executive Brian Slagel saw Slayer perform Iron Maiden's "Phantom of the Opera," he signed the band to his label Metal Blade. Slayer went on to release its debut studio album, "Show No Mercy," in late 1983. Although it was criticized for its low-quality production, the album became Metal Blade's bestselling release. Slayer subsequently released the EP "Haunting the Chapel" and the live album "Live Undead" in 1984. Those were followed by the studio album "Hell Awaits" in 1985. The year after that, Slayer released "Reign in Blood," which helped the band reach a more mainstream audience. Moreover, the album was highly influential in defining the thrash metal sound of the latter half of the 1980s. Slayer released its fourth studio album, "South of Heaven," in 1988.

Slayer began the 1990s with the album "Seasons in the Abyss." Next came the double live album "Decade of Aggression," released in 1991. Although heavy metal was falling out of favor during the decade, Slayer fared better than most bands of its ilk, releasing the albums "Divine Intervention," "Undisputed Attitude," and "Diabolus in Musica." The band's first album of the new millennium, "God Hates Us All," came out on September 11, 2001; it reached number 28 on the Billboard 200. Slayer's next release wasn't until 2006, with the limited-release EP "Eternal Pyre." Later that year, the band released its tenth studio album, "Christ Illusion," which debuted at number five on the Billboard 200. The album's songs "Eyes of the Insane" and "Final Six" went on to win Grammy Awards. Slayer next released "World Painted Blood" in 2009. The band's final album was 2015's "Repentless," the only one recorded without Hanneman, who had passed away two years earlier. Slayer took a farewell tour from May 2018 to November 2019, and then disbanded.

Jeff Hanneman

Jo Hale/Getty Images

Pap Smear

Beyond Slayer, Hanneman played briefly with a hardcore punk band in 1984 called Pap Smear. He was joined by Rocky George, Joey Fuchs, and his Slayer bandmate Dave Lombardo. Although the band had many tracks and was prepared to start recording, Hanneman chose to cease Pap Smear after Slayer producer Rick Rubin warned him that the project could potentially result in the breakup of Slayer.

Style and Influences

Widely considered one of the greatest heavy metal guitarists of all time, Hanneman was known for his chaotic guitar solos and riffs, especially the ones he did with King. On the album "South of Heaven," he employed tremolo picking and down-picked notes. Hanneman's influences included such hard rock and heavy metal bands as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath, as well as such hardcore punk groups as Wasted Youth, Black Flag, and Dead Kennedys.

Nazism Controversy

Hanneman generated controversy for his interest in Nazi Germany and German military history. He developed this interest in large part because of his World War II veteran father, who gave him various medals as a child, including some taken from a dead German soldier. Hanneman's lyrics for the infamous track "Angel of Death" prompted many to accuse Slayer of being Nazi sympathizers. However, the band repeatedly denied any connection to or embrace of Nazism.

Personal Life

In 1989, Hanneman married his wife Kathryn, whom he had first met during a Slayer show in Buena Park, California in 1983. Unlike the other members of his band, he had a highly reserved personality when he wasn't performing, and rarely socialized or gave interviews.

In early 2011, Hanneman contracted a flesh-eating disease on one of his arms. It ended up getting so bad that doctors considered amputation, and at one point thought he might not survive. Although Hanneman did make it, the effects of the disease hampered his ability to play guitar, and he became severely depressed.


Hanneman passed away from liver failure in early May of 2013. The official cause of death was listed as alcohol-related cirrhosis.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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