Slayer guitarist Gary Holt is dropping off the current European leg of the thrash metal titans’ farewell tour, revealing that his father only has a short time to live. Filling in for Holt will be Phil Demmel, who recently played his last show ever with Machine Head.
Holt, who also is a longtime member of Exodus, played Sunday night’s gig in Berlin, Germany, and then took to Instagram to make the announcement, posting a photo of himself with Demmel and fellow Slayer guitarist Kerry King. He will miss the last four gigs on Slayer’s European run, starting with tonight’s show in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“First things first. I want to say thank you to Berlin for the amazing show – best crowd ever,” began Holt. “But what I’ve got to say has been very hard for me these last 10 days or so. My father is very near the end of his journey. I’ve been playing these last several shows with the heaviest of hearts – and with that heavy heart, I have to announce I am leaving Slayer’s European tour.”
He added, “I must return home to help care for my dad in his final moments. Tonight ended with me in tears while finishing ‘Angel of Death’, but the crowd brought out the best in me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And that having been said, I want each and every Slayer fan to give their biggest screams for Phil Demmel, Bay Area legend. My dear friend, who having just finished a tour, agreed to help me and the band out and learn an entire Slayer set in days and come out here so I can return home for my dad.”
The guitarist went on to thank his bandmates in both Slayer and Exodus, as well as his wife, tour mates and others. His full post can be seen below.
Holt joined Slayer as a touring member in 2011 to fill in for an ailing Jeff Hanneman. He became a full-time member of the band following Hanneman’s death in 2013.
Demmel, meanwhile, had announced that he would be leaving his longtime band Machine Head following their fall North American tour, which just wrapped up. See our photos and recap of his last-show ever with Machine Head, which took place November 24th in Santa Cruz, California.