Lead guitarist of the American rock band Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen, has died due to cancer. He was 65.
According to a person close to Van Halen’s family, the rocker died Tuesday due to cancer.
Eddie’s son Wolfgang wrote a post on his social media account, “He was the best father I could ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift.”
Eddie co-founded the band in 1972 with his brother, drummer Alex Van Halen, bassist Mark Stone, and singer David Lee Roth.
He is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time. His band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. He was one of the greatest guitarists.
In 2012, he was voted number one in a Guitar World magazine reader’s poll for “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”
Many music artists paid tribute to Van Halen. “You changed our world,” tweeted Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx. “You were the Mozart of rock guitar. Travel safe, rockstar.” Lenny Kravitz said, “Heaven will be electric tonight.”
Eddie also played guitar on one of the biggest singles of the 1980s: Jackson’s “Beat It.” His music appeared in films such as “Superbad,” “Minions” and “Sing.” Also, his music appeared on TV shows such as “Glee” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
Eddie had to struggle with alcoholism and drug abuse. He started smoking and drinking at a very young age of 12. He even once said he needed alcohol to function. In 2007, he entered rehabilitation and later shared that he had been sober since 2008.
In 1999, he had to undergo hip replacement surgery after suffering from lingering injuries from high-risk, acrobatic stage performances.
In 2000, Eddie began receiving treatment for tongue cancer, for which, he had to get one-third of his tongue removed surgically. In 2002, he was declared cancer-free.
Eddie said in 2015 that his tongue cancer was due to the habit of holding guitar picks in his mouth.
At the time, he said, “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. … 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.”
In 2019, Eddie was hospitalized after battling throat cancer for more than five years. Born on January 26, 1955, in Amsterdam, Van Halen was the son of Jan Van Halen and Eugenia Van Halen. Jan was a Dutch clarinetist, pianist, and saxophonist, and pianist.