Obituaries of note: Jeff Hanneman, George Horse Capture, Donald Shirley

May 3, 2013
Jeff Hanneman
rock guitarist

Jeff Hanneman, 49, a founding member of the heavy metal band Slayer, died May 2 of liver failure at a Los Angeles hospital.

Slayer spokeswoman Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald confirmed the death.

The guitarist had recently begun writing songs with the band in anticipation of recording a new album this year. Mr. Hanneman had been slowly recovering from what was thought to be a spider bite that nearly cost him his arm after he failed to seek immediate treatment.

Robinson-Fitzgerald said the spider bite was suspected of contributing to Mr. Hanneman’s liver failure. It was unclear whether an autopsy would be performed.

Mr. Hanneman co-founded the thrash metal pioneers in Huntington Beach, Calif., in 1982.

Guitarist Jeff Hanneman of Slayer died of liver failure May 2, 2013 at a Southern California area hospital. He was 49. (Kevin Winter/GETTY IMAGES)
George Horse Capture
Native American activist

George Horse Capture, 75, a Native American activist, curator and professor, and a member of the Gros Ventre tribe, died April 16 of kidney failure in Great Falls, Mont., according to his family.

Mr. Horse Capture was an author, archivist and curator at the Plains Indian Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyo., taught at Montana State University and worked for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington.

In 1969, Mr. Horse Capture was one of hundreds of protesters who filled the abandoned prison grounds of Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay while 14 Native American protesters occupied the prison. They demanded the U.S. government’s acknowledgment of broken promises to Native Americans.

Mr. Horse Capture grew up on a reservation in Montana and, after studying at the University of California at Berkeley, was hired in 1979 as the first curator of the Plains Indian Museum.

In 1994, he was named deputy assistant director for cultural resources at the National Museum of the American Indian, where he was determined to make it a museum for Native peoples, not just about them.

Donald Shirley
pianist

Donald Shirley, 86, a pianist who worked in classical music, jazz and a hybrid musical form of his own, died April 6 of heart disease at his home in New York City. A friend and student, Michiel Kappeyne van de Coppello, confirmed the death.

Mr. Shirley made his concert debut at 18, performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Boston Pops. He performed in concert halls around the world but, he said, was discouraged from pursuing a career in classical music.

In an undated photo Historian George Horse Capture is seen in his Great Falls, Mont., home. The Native American activist, curator and professor died at the age of 75. (Larry Beckner/AP)

He later performed in jazz settings, and he composed and arranged music that combined classical and popular elements. He made a number of recordings, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, and was known for his fine touch on the piano.

Mr. Shirley was born in Pensacola, Fla., and studied organ at Catholic University in his youth. He lived for many years in an apartment at Carnegie Hall in New York.

— From news services and staff reports

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