Eddie Van Halen, founding member of Van Halen and one of rock’s most influential guitarists, has died at the age of 65.
Van Halen’s passing on October 6 was confirmed by his son and the band’s current bassist Wolfgang Van Halen. The musician had begun receiving treatment for tongue cancer in 2000, and was hospitalized last year after fighting throat cancer for the last five years.
“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,” Wolfgang 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. I love you so much, Pop.”
— Wolf Van Halen (@WolfVanHalen) October 6, 2020
Aside from Van Halen’s decades-long hard rock discography, which includes hits like “Jump,” “Panama” and “Runnin’ with the Devil,” Eddie Van Halen is also known for playing the scorching solo on Michael Jackson’s “Beat it.” He contributed the solo for free, and was not billed in the credits for Jackson’s album Thriller.
Van Halen vocalists David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar have both paid tribute to their bandmate. “What a long great trip it’s been,” Roth remarked. “Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family,” Hagar wrote. Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony also paid his respects on social media. See their posts below.
What a Long Great Trip It’s Been.. pic.twitter.com/M5pmkVi7hW
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) October 7, 2020
Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family. pic.twitter.com/MQMueMF2XO
— Sammy Hagar (@sammyhagar) October 6, 2020
Tributes to Eddie Van Halen have poured in from around the rock and metal world. Below, see posts by AC/DC’s Angus Young, Metallica, The Who, Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx, Kiss’ Gene Simmons, Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi, and Queen’s Brian Wilson.
We are enormously saddened to hear about the untimely passing of Eddie Van Halen. We considered him an inspiration, an idol, and after spending a summer together on the road in '88, a friend. Sending love to Alex, @wolfvanhalen & everyone in the greater VH family.
— Metallica (@Metallica) October 6, 2020
— AC/DC (@acdc) October 7, 2020
"A man in his rightful place, so happy to be doing what he did." ~ Pete Townshend.
Eddie van Halen 1955-2020. Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/JOg0vn86An
— The Who (@TheWho) October 7, 2020
Crushed. So fucking crushed. RIP Eddie Van Halen. You changed our world. You were the Mozart of rock guitar. Travel safe rockstar.
— —Nikki Sixx— (@NikkiSixx) October 6, 2020
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) October 6, 2020
Just when I thought 2020 couldn't get any worse, I hear Eddie Van Halen has passed. So shocking- One of the nicest, down to Earth men I have ever met and toured with. A true gent and true genius. RIP. So sad.Thoughts go out to his brother Alex, and his family. pic.twitter.com/fwIw040YMX
— Geezer Butler (@geezerbutler) October 6, 2020
I just heard about Eddie Van Halen and I feel terrible about it. Eddie was such a great guitarist and I remember how big Van Halen was, especially here in L.A. Love and Mercy to Eddie’s family & friends. pic.twitter.com/PY8fyrx1Lu
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) October 6, 2020
RIP, Eddie Van Halen. Revisit the band’s iconic album 1984 here: