Legendary Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen has died at the age of 65 following a battle with throat cancer.
TMZ reports that Van Halen passed away Tuesday, 6th October at St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica, California. It’s being reported that in the days leading up to his death the musician’s health had turned critical.
Van Halen’s song, Wolf, confirmed the news on social media earlier today. “I can’t believe I’m having to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning,” he wrote.
“He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift. My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss.”
— Wolf Van Halen (@WolfVanHalen) October 6, 2020
Eddie Van Halen was born in Amsterdam in 1955, to a musical family that included a father who played piano, saxophone and clarinet. The family moved to Pasadena, California in 1962 and Eddie formed numerous early bands with brother Alex Van Halen throughout the mid-60s. By 1974, they had settled on the name Van Halen with a lineup that included guitarist Eddie, drummer Alex, vocalist David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony.
After recording their first demo with Kiss‘ Gene Simmons, the band released their debut self-titled album in 1978, with the attention-grabbing instrumental ‘Eruption’ – which saw Eddie’s distinctive tapping style dominate the track. Other favourites on the album included ‘Runnin’ with the Devil’, ‘Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love’ and their cover of the Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’.
The band’s critically acclaimed 1984 arrived five albums and six years later, anchored by the likes of hit single ‘Jump’ along with ‘Hot for Teacher’ and ‘Panama’. It was the final album to include David Lee Roth until 2012’s A Different Kind of Truth, with the band recruiting Sammy Hagar to replace the frontman.
In 2007, the band reunited with David Lee Roth, with Eddie’s song Wolfgang joining the band around the same time. The band’s final tour took place in 2015. Last year, it was revealed that the guitarist had been battling throat cancer for the last five years.
Outside of his work with Van Halen, Eddie was also responsible for the iconic guitar solo in Michael Jackson‘s 1982 hit ‘Beat It’ after being contacted by producer Quincy Jones.
Eddie Van Halen leaves behind a formidable legacy as one of the most influential contemporary guitarists, leaving behind a lasting impact on rock music that can still be heard in the furious finger-tapping and face-melting solos we hear today.