Los Angeles, Oct 6 (efe-epa).- Eddie Van Halen, guitar hero and co-founder of Van Halen, died Tuesday of throat cancer, his son said. He was 65.
“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,” Wolf Van Halen wrote on Twitter.
The musician passed away at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, TMZ reported.
Eddie Van Halen is survived by wife Janie Liszewski, Wolf – his son with former wife actress Valerie Bertinelli – and by his brother and drummer, Alex Van Halen.
The Netherlands-born brothers grew up in Pasadena, California, where they founded their band in 1974 with Michael Anthony on bass and David Lee Roth as vocalist and frontman.
Van Halen went on to record platinum albums and play to sold-out venues for four decades, albeit with some personnel changes, as Roth left to pursue a solo career and was succeeded by Sammy Hagar, who eventually gave way to Gary Cherone.
Hagar returned for a few years in the early 2000s, but the band was re-launched in 2006 with Roth as lead singer and Wolf Van Halen on bass.
Eddie Van Halen’s guitar pyrotechnics were the thread that ran through the various versions of the band and its best-loved songs, including “Runnin’ With the Devil,” “Panama,” “Hot For Teacher,” “Why Can’t This Be Love?” and “Jump,” the only Van Halen cut to reach the top of the singles chart.
He likewise contributed a brilliant solo to Michael Jackson’s 1983 mega-hit “Beat It.”
The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 and Rolling Stone rated Eddie Van Halen in 2015 as the eighth-best guitarist of all time, behind only Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, BB King and Chuck Berry.
Eddie Van Halen acknowledged battling addictions for much of his life and entered a rehabilitation facility in 2007. He told an interviewer five years ago that he had been addiction-free since 2008.
The musician was married to Bertinelli from 1981-2005 and the couple remained on good terms following their divorce.
“Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family,” Hagar said on social media after learning of Van Halen’s death.
“There are lots of great guitar players in the world, but very VERY few true innovators,” Keith Urban said of Eddie Van Halen. EFE dvp/dr