Slayer announced on Thursday that late guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who passed away on May 2, died from alcohol-related liver cirrhosis, not from a spider bite as previously suspected.

One of the main causes of liver failure, cirrhosis is a condition in which liver cells are destroyed and rebuilt with disorderly scar tissue. Alcohol abuse is the most common cause of cirrhosis, along with viral hepatitis and right-sided heart failure.

The onset of liver cirrhosis is usually subtle, characterized by an enlarged liver, weight loss, and a loss of appetite. As the disease progresses, the liver becomes blocked up and unable to perform its functions, including detoxifying the blood. Blood and other fluids build up throughout the body, leading to a distended fluid-filled abdomen (ascites), varicose veins around the esophagus, and swelling.

People become terminal with liver failure once ammonia, a chemical that is usually filtered from the blood by the liver, accumulates and poisons the brain, leading to confusion and eventually a coma.

Liver disease is the 4th most common cause of death among men ages 45-54.

Jeff Hanneman was born on Jan. 31, 1964. He was one of the founding members of Slayer, which has been active since 1981. As one of the most prolific and influential metal bands, Slayer sold over 20 million albums worldwide and toured relentlessly.

Hanneman appeared for an encore performance of Slayer at the Coachella music festival in April 2012, which drew a record-breaking crowd of 80,000.

In 2011, Hanneman was diagnosed with necrotizing faciitis resulting from a spider bite, a rare flesh-eating disease in which the soft tissue connecting muscles, fat, and nerves deteriorates. While he was hospitalized for the condition, at one point in a coma and another considering arm amputation, it was unrelated to his death.

"In fact, by all accounts, it appeared that he had been improving - he was excited and looking forward to working on a new record," according to the band's update.

"Jeff was a lifeline of Slayer, he wrote so many of the songs that the band will always be known for," said bandmate, Tom Araya. "He had a good heart, he was a good guy."