Slayer guitarist Gary Holt has left the band’s European tour to travel back to the US to care for his ill father.
The band played Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena last night and, with a handful of dates remaining over the course of the next week, Slayer have brought in former Machine Head guitarist Phil Demmel to take over during Holt’s absence.
Holt says: “First things first. I want to say thank you to Berlin for the amazing show – best crowd ever. 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.
“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.
“Thank you Phil, you are family. Love you bro! Please give him your warmest welcome.”
Holt continues: “Most of all, I gotta thank Tom Araya, Paul Bostaph and Kerry King – you guys are truly my family and have had my back through all what has been the roughest time in my life on tour.
“And thanks to the entire crew, Lamb Of God, Anthrax and Obituary and their crews for knowing you all have been there for me through this.”
Holt goes on to thank the fans, his wife Lisa and his Exodus bandmates for their support and adds: “I’ll be back in March to crush once more.”
Following the latest run of dates, which will conclude in Helsinki on December 8, Slayer will take a few months off before a run of shows in Australia and New Zealand in March and have further performances planned throughout 2019.