Eddie Van Halen, a revolutionary guitarist and founding member of legendary rock troupe Van Halen, has died at age 65 after a long battle with throat cancer. Throughout five decades, 12 studio albums and three lead singers, the musician perfected the art guitar tapping in front of massive audiences, paving the way for metal and hard rock songs and solos to evolve in the 80s and 90s.
Eddie’s son and current Van Halen bassist, 29-year-old Wolf Van Halen, wrote the following in remembrance.
“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.”
Van Halen vocalist David Lee Roth kept his remark short and sweet, sharing a backstage photo of the pair.
Tributes also poured in from fellow rock stars and musicians, Fox News notes. John Mayer called Van Halen a “guitar superhero” and true virtuoso” who inspired him to dig into the instrument at a young age. Gene Simmons
“My heart is broken. Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul. Rest in peace, Eddie! wrote KISS co-founder Gene Simmons.
Ex-Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar, who briefly replaced Roth from 2003-2005, simply said, “Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family,” along with a photo.
In the caption of a backstage photo from a 1988 tour, the official Metallica Instagram account wrote, “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.”
Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx said, “Crushed. So f*cking crushed. RIP Eddie Van Halen. You changed our world. You were the Mozart of rock guitar. Travel safe rockstar.” Fellow Mötley Crüe member Tommy Lee wrote, “RIP to my friend and man who changed guitar playing forever …F*CK!!! no words.”
Black Sabbath lead Ozzy Osbourne added, “Eddie was one of the nicest guys I ever worked with and we shared so many laughs together. His influence on music and especially the guitar has been immeasurable. He was an absolute legend. Eddie, I’ll see you on the other side, my friend. Love, Ozzy.”
Aerosmith’s official account wrote that he “be missed.”
RIP to true musical legend.