Rock star Eddie Van Halen died at the age of 65 on Tuesday.
The guitarist and co-founder of the Eighties band Van Halen had been battling throat cancer for over a decade.
‘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 said in a tweet.
He added: ‘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 will ever fully recover from this loss.’
Eddie, who never really learned to read music, had a sudden decline in health in the past 72 hours, according to TMZ.
His throat cancer had reportedly gone to his brain as well as other parts of his body, it was added.
The site said that he had been ‘in and out of the hospital over the past year.’
Van Halen is considered one of rock music’s greatest guitar players and Eddie was a founding member of the hugely successful band named after him and his drummer brother.
The group was formed in 1972 with Michael Anthony on bass and David Lee Roth singing. The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
The guitar virtuoso also played the unmistakable fiery solo in Michael Jackson’s hit ‘Beat It’.
Van Halen is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time and Rolling Stone magazine put Eddie Van Halen at No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.
Sad loss: Musician Eddie Van Halen died at the age of 65 on Tuesday. He is seen left in April 2017 and right in 1984 at Madison Square Garden in New York
Van Halen (left to right) Eddie Van Halen, Michael Anthony, Alex Van Halen and David Lee Roth. The band is pictured in 1978
Bandmate David Lee Roth on Tuesday night paid tribute to Eddie Van Halen
Roth, his bandmate, tweeted: ‘What a Long Great Trip It’s Been..’
Kiss frontman Gene Simmons wrote: ‘My heart is broken. Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul. Rest in peace, Eddie!’
He first saw a then-unknown Eddie play in 1976, signing his band up to produce a 15-song demo.
Simmons has previously said of their performance: ‘Even though the band was a three-piece, there was a big sound coming out of them and Eddie was tapping the neck — which I’d never seen done on guitar before — with speed and accuracy in the melody. They simply didn’t sound like anybody else. There was a kind of fury.’
Paul Stanley, also of Kiss, said: ‘Oh NO! Speechless. A trailblazer and someone who always gave everything to his music. A good soul. I remember first seeing him playing at the Starwood in 1976 and he WAS Eddie Van Halen. So shocked and sad. My condolences to Wolfie and the family.’
Aerosmith’s Instagram account posted an image of Eddie, writing: ‘Rest In Peace Eddie Van Halen. You will be missed. #Legend.’
Singer Sammy Hagar said he is ‘heartbroken and speechless’ after death of his former bandmate.
‘You changed our world. You were the Mozart of rock guitar. Travel safe rockstar,’ Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx said on Twitter.
‘Rest in peace guitar legend Eddie Van Halen. Broken heart We will miss you,’ tweeted Billy Idol.
‘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,’ his son Wolfgang Van Halen said in a tweet
Eddie Van Halen’s ex-wife and mother of his son Wolfie replied to their son’s tweet with a series of broken heart emojis
Vivid: Fans decorated Eddie’s handprints at Hollywood Guitar Center in Los Angeles
A bandanna autographed by late rock legend Eddie Van Halen on the Hollywood Rock Walk
Eddie Van Halen memorial tribute and handprints at Hollywood Guitar Center
Jimmy Kimmel tweeted: ‘Two of the best hours of my life were spent chatting with Eddie Van Halen. A great musician, yes – also a funny and lovely guy who will be missed terribly. Sending love to Janie, Wolf, Alex & all those who loved him.’
‘It wouldn’t be an hour of the day or a day of the week in the year 2020 if we didn’t at least get 22 simultaneous pieces of awful every few minutes. RIP #VanHalen,’ actor Josh Gad tweeted.
Veteran rocker Eddie was diagnosed with cancer nearly 20 years ago and had been traveling between the United States and Germany for treatment.
He struggled with alcohol and cocaine abuse after starting smoking at the age of 12.
He went to the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, declaring himself sober in 2008.
Eddie had a third of his tongue removed in 2000 and had reportedly been declared cancer free in 2002 but had been to Germany to get radiation treatment over the last five years.
In November he had intestinal issues, and he had undergone chemotherapy in recent months.
Eddie and his brother Alex founded Van Halen in the early 1970s in Los Angeles and the hard rock band became a staple of the famed Sunset Strip before releasing their eponymous debut album in 1978.
With his distinct solos, Eddie Van Halen fueled the ultimate California party band and helped knock disco off the charts starting in the late 1970s.
They then released the blockbuster record ‘1984,’ which contains the classics ‘Jump,’ ‘Panama’ and ‘Hot for Teacher.’
The album shot to number 19 on the Billboard charts, becoming one of the most successful debuts of the decade.
Eddie Van Halen pictured shopping at the Farmers Market with his second wife Janie Liszewski, who he married in 2009
He passed away at at St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica, California with his wife Janie next to him. The couple are pictured
The members of Van Halen — the two Van Halen brothers, Eddie and Alex; vocalist David Lee Roth; and bassist Michael Anthony — were members of rival high school bands and then attended Pasadena City College together.
They combined to form the band Mammoth, but then changed to Van Halen after discovering there was another band called Mammoth.
Their 1978 release ‘Van Halen’ opened with a blistering ‘Runnin’ With the Devil’ and then Eddie Van Halen showed off his astonishing skills in the next song, ‘Eruption,’ a furious 1:42 minute guitar solo that swoops and soars like a deranged bird.
The album also contained a cover of the Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’ and ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.’
Mike McCready of Pearl Jam told Rolling Stone magazine that listening to Van Halen’s ‘Eruption’ was like hearing Mozart for the first time.
‘He gets sounds that aren’t necessarily guitar sounds — a lot of harmonics, textures that happen just because of how he picks.’
Eddie married One Day At A Time star Valerie Bertinelli in 1981; the couple separated in 2001. They are pictured in the Eighties
Van Halen released albums on a yearly timetable — ‘Van Halen II’ (1979), ‘Women and Children First’ (1980), ‘Fair Warning’ (1981) and ‘Diver Down’ (1982) — until the monumental ‘1984,’ which hit No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album charts (only behind Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’).
Rolling Stone ranked ‘1984’ No. 81 on its list of the 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s.
‘Eddie put the smile back in rock guitar, at a time when it was all getting a bit brooding. He also scared the hell out of a million guitarists around the world, because he was so damn good. And original,’ Joe Satriani, a fellow virtuoso, told Billboard in 2015.
Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains said of his friend in 2019: ‘Ed’s a once- or twice-in-a-century kind of guy. There’s Hendrix and there’s Eddie Van Halen.
‘Those two guys tilted the world on its axis.’
He had son Wolfgang with One Day At A Time star Valerie Bertinelli.
The couple married in a 1981 and separated in 2001. His son became Van Halen’s bassist in 2006.
Eddie married stuntwoman-turned-publicist Janie Liszewski in 2009.
Born in Amsterdam, Eddie grew up in a musical household: his father was a classically trained clarinet and saxophone player.
He was given piano lessons as a child before the family moved to America when he was seven years old, settling in Pasadena, California.
‘We showed up here with the equivalent of $50 and a piano,’ Eddie Van Halen told The Associated Press in 2015.
‘We came halfway around the world without money, without a set job, no place to live and couldn’t even speak the language.’
He said his earliest memories of music were banging pots and pans together, marching to John Philip Sousa marches. At one point, Eddie got a drum set, which his older brother coveted.
‘I never wanted to play guitar,’ he confessed at a talk at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in 2015.
But his brother was good at the drums, so Eddie gave in to his brother’s wishes: ‘I said, ‘Go ahead, take my drums. I’ll play your damn guitar.’
After his band were signed to Warner Bros Records, producer Ted Templeman said: ‘There were like 11 people in the audience, and they were playing like they were at the Forum.’
After recording the band’s debut album, aged 22, Van Halen are said to have trashed their hotel room in Scotland when they heard it had gone gold in the US.
He was then asked by producer Quincy Jones to perform the guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s Beat It before Jump became the band’s only number one.
His solo on Beat It lasted all of 20 seconds and took only a half an hour to record. He did it as a favor to Jones, while the rest of his Van Halen bandmates were out of town.
Van Halen received no compensation or credit for the work, even though he rearranged the section he played on.
‘It was 20 minutes of my life. I didn’t want anything for doing that,’ he told Billboard in 2015.
‘I literally thought to myself, ‘Who is possibly going to know if I play on this kid’s record?’
Rolling Stone ranked ‘Beat It’ No. 344 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Jackson’s melding of hard rock and R&B preceded the meeting of Run-DMC and Aerosmith by four years.
But strains between Roth and the band erupted after their 1984 world tour, and Roth left. The group then recruited Sammy Hagar as lead singer —some critics called the new formulation ‘Van Hagar’ — and the band went on to score its first No. 1 album with ‘5150’.
More studio albums followed, including ‘OU812,’ ‘For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge’ and ‘Balance.’ Hit singles included ‘Why Can’t This Be Love’ and ‘When It’s Love.’
Hagar was ousted in 1996 and former Extreme singer Gary Cherone stepped in for the album ‘Van Halen III,’ a stumble that didn’t lead to another album and the quick departure of Cherone. Roth would eventually return in 2007 and team up with the Van Halen brothers and Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie’s son, on bass for a tour, the album ‘A Different Kind of Truth’ and the 2015 album ‘Tokyo Dome Live in Concert.’
Van Halen’s music has appeared in films as varied as ‘Superbad,’ ‘Minions’ and ‘Sing’ as well as TV shows like ‘Glee’ and ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.’ Video games such as ‘Gran Turismo 4’ and ‘Guitar Hero’ have used his riffs. Their song ‘Jamie’s Cryin’ was sampled by rapper Tone Loc in his hit ‘Wild Thing.’
After recording the band’s debut album, aged 22, Van Halen are said to have trashed their hotel room in Scotland when they heard it had gone gold in the US. He was then asked by producer Quincy Jones to perform the guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s Beat It before Jump became the band’s only number one
Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony of Van Halen in London in 1978
For much of his career, Eddie Van Halen wrote and experimented with sounds while drunk or high – or both.
He revealed that he would stay in his hotel room drinking vodka and snorting cocaine while playing into a tape recorder.
Hagar’s 2011 autobiography ‘Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock’ portrays Eddie as a violent, booze-addled vampire, living inside a garbage-strewn house.
‘I didn’t drink to party,’ Van Halen told Billboard. ‘Alcohol and cocaine were private things to me. I would use them for work. The blow keeps you awake and the alcohol lowers your inhibitions. I’m sure there were musical things I would not have attempted were I not in that mental state.’
Van Halen had said he thinks he got throat cancer from putting a metal guitar pick in his mouth when he was on stage, even though he had been a heavy smoker.
Eddie told Billboard in 2015: ‘I used metal picks – they’re brass and copper – which I always held in my mouth, in the exact place where I got the tongue cancer.
‘Plus, I basically live in a recording studio that’s filled with electromagnetic energy. So that’s one theory.
‘I mean, I was smoking and doing a lot of drugs and a lot of everything.
‘But at the same time, my lungs are totally clear. This is just my own theory, but the doctors say it’s possible.’
Eddie’s friend and TOTO guitarist Steve Lukather said last year that ‘health issues’ were stopping the group from touring.