Legendary Rocker Eddie Van Halen Dies From Cancer At 65

Legendary musician Eddie Van Halen, best known as a founding member of Van Halen, died on Tuesday following a battle with cancer.

Eddie Van Halen has died at aged 65.

The legendary musician and founding member of rock band Van Halen passed away on Tuesday (Oct 6) following a “long and arduous battle” with tongue cancer, his 29-year-old son Wolfgang Van Halen has confirmed.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Wolfgang wrote: "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 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."

Eddie's ex-wife, Valerie Bertinelli, replied to her son's tweet with multiple broken hearts. Valerie was married to to the legendary rocker from 1981 to 2007. Valerie later shared a sweet picture of Eddie, Wolfgang and herself.

Valerie wrote on Instagram: “40 years ago my life changed forever when I met you.

“You gave me the one true light in my life, our son, Wolfgang. Through all your challenging treatments for lung cancer, you kept your gorgeous spirit and that impish grin. I’m so grateful Wolfie and I were able to hold you in your last moments. I will see you in our next life my love.”

Eddie was widely regarded as a guitar innovator and virtuoso, who led the group Van Halen through a career which spanned five decades.

Eddie and his brother Alex — the sons of Dutch and Indonesian immigrants who moved to the US in 1962 — founded Van Halen in 1972, playing at notable Los Angeles music venues like the Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip. They signed with Warner Bros Records in 1977 and went on to release a string of chart-topping albums, including their self-titled debut in 1978, 1984 —  which spawned their only Billboard Top 100 No. 1 'Jump' — OU812, and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge

Over the years, the band found success with both original singer David Lee Roth and his replacement Sammy Hagar. Extreme's Gary Cherone became the band's third lead singer on the album Van Halen III. Eddie's son Wolfgang would later join the band as the bassist in the mid-2000s. 

The music icon established himself as one of the all-time great players in rock history, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Most notably, Eddie gained critical acclaim for the influence he had on hard rock and his mastery of the two-handed tapping technique, which he perfected and introduced to a mass audience.

And although he was a guitar master, the musician never learned to read music.

He said in 1980: “I don’t know s*** about scales or music theory. I don’t want to be seen as the fastest guitar in town, ready and willing to gun down the competition. All I know is that rock and roll guitar, like blues guitar, should be melody, speed, and taste, but more important, it should have emotion. I just want my guitar playing to make people feel something: happy, sad, even horny.”

Eddie had been battling cancer since 2000, and had previously undergone hip-replacement surgery in 1999. 

The icon also had a history of drug and alcohol abuse that led him to enter a rehabilitation facility in 2007, and had surgery for diverticulitis in 2012.

Eddie is survived by his son, Wolfgang, and his second wife Janie Liszewski, whom he married in 2009. 

Eddie's musical peers and celebs took to social media to remember him. Ex-Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar wrote, "Heartbroken and speechless." while original  singer David Lee Roth simply said, "What a long great trip it's been." Former bassist Michael Anthony penned, "No words... Heartbroken, my love to the family." Gary Cherone offered: "Whether you were blessed to have known him or not, he was a kind and gentle soul. ... His impact on ALL our lives was immeasurable! His music, eternal! My deepest sympathies to the Van Halen family. ... Love you, Ed."

 

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What a Long Great Trip It’s Been..

A post shared by David Lee Roth (@davidleeroth) on

 

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No words...Heartbroken, my love to the family💔

A post shared by Michael Anthony (@mad_anthony_bassman) on

 

Tributes continue to flood in for Eddie.

 

 

 

 

 

​​​​​​​— BANG

Photo: TPG News/Click Photos

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