The Exodus axeman was called up in 2011 after Hanneman was bitten by a spider, leading to an attack of necrotising fasciitis that caused the loss of most of the flesh of his arm, and brought him close to death.
The Slayer co-founder suffered liver failure and passes way in hospital. He was 49.
Now Holt has released a statement, saying he’s “devastated” and that the news “hit me like a ton of bricks.”
He comments: “Jeff, it’s been an honour, my brother, to try my best to honour your songs best I could.
“There is only one Jeff Hanneman. All I ever could hope to do was play those songs you wrote with the conviction with which you played and wrote them. There is only one of you; that mould was broken long ago.
“My old friend, we had some amazing times on the greatest shows and tours I’ve ever done – Venom, Slayer, Exodus, anyone? – young and hungry thrashers out to lay waste to everything, the best time ever while doing it. Exactly why we all started playing in the first place.
“Much love and respect, and my deepest condolences to the Hanneman family and the whole Slayer family. Gone but never forgotten and always missed.”
Meanwhile, founding Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, who was recently dropped by the band over a contractual disagreement, has also reacted to his bandmate’s death. He says: “I’m deeply saddened, shocked and speechless. It’s difficult for me to write my feelings at this moment. My heart goes out to Kathy Hanneman.”
At Revolver’s Golden Gods awards on Thursday night, soon after the band had released the news, guitarist Kerry King called on a moment’s noise in Hanneman’s memory, rather than a traditional moment’s silence.