Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen passed away yesterday at the age of 65 following a long battle with cancer.
“I can’t believe I have to write this but my father Edward Lodewijk Van Halen has lost his long arduous battle with cancer this morning,” his son Wolfgang shared on social media. “He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift." He added, "My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss.” Wolfgang’s mother, and Eddie’s ex Valerie Bertinelli, simply replied to the post with broken heart emojis.
Bertinelli later paid tribute to Eddie writing, "40 years ago my life changed forever when I met you. You gave me the one true light of my life, our son Wolfgang." She added that through his cancer battle he was able to keep his "gorgeous smile and impish grin," noting, "I am so grateful Wolfie and I were able to hold you in your last moments. I will see you in our next life my love."
According to TMZ, Van Halen died at at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica and was surrounded by family including wife, Janie, Wolfgang, Bertinelli, and Eddie's brother and bandmate Alex. The site notes that Eddie's health went downhill in the past 72 hours, and his throat cancer spread to other organs, including his brain.
- Van Halen, made up of Eddie, brother Alex, frontman David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony, blasted on the rock scene in 1978 with their self-titled debut album, which went on to sell 10 million copies. Their first five albums went multiplatinum, and they landed their first and only number one single with “Jump,” from their album “1984.”
- Following Roth’s departure, the band continued to find success with new frontman Sammy Hagar, releasing four number one albums between 1986 and 1995. They replaced Hagar with Gary Cherone for one album in 1996, although they reunited with Hagar for a reunion in 2004 and then later with Roth for a reunion tour in 2007. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 although both Eddie, Alex and Roth did not attend.
- Considered one of the best guitarists in rock and roll, he also contributed to projects outside of Van Halen, including the famous guitar riff on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”
Eddie dealt with several health issues over the years, including drug and alcohol problems. Tongue cancer, likely caused by years of heavy smoking, resulted in him having part of his tongue removed in 2002. Recent reports claimed he was battling throat cancer and had been going to Germany for experimental treatments.
Click here to check out celeb reaction to Eddie’s death.