An era has ended. A chapter of music history comes to a close. It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Eddie Van Halen at age 65.
Official word of his death came via an Instagram post by Eddie’s son and current bass player, Wolfgang Van Halen:
“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 Van Halen’s Battle with Lung Cancer
Eddie has been battling lung cancer for the past ten years. In November, it was reported that he was receiving treatment in Germany. Over the last couple of days, several sources reported that Van Halen’s health took a serious turn for the worse. Doctors discovered the cancer had spread to his brain and other organs.
At the time of his passing, Eddie was in the company of his son Wolfgang, his brother Alex, wife Janie, and ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli.
Ms. Bertinelli made this statement on twitter:
“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 Van Halen’s Early Days
Edward Lodewijk Van Halen was born on January 26, 1955, in the Netherlands. In the 60s, he and his family moved to the U.S. He and his older brother, Alex, began taking piano lessons at an early age, which planted the seeds for both of the siblings’ future musical career.
Though we know Eddie for his awesome guitar playing, he actually began playing on the drums, while his brother Alex took up guitar. They later swapped, and the rest is history.
Eddie’s Iconic Guitar Playing Style
In the early 70s, Eddie and Alex met up with singer David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony, and started the band, Mammoth. It was during that time that Eddie picked up a what would soon become his guitar-playing trademark, the ‘two-handed tap’ technique. Eddie soon became the top guitarist on the local music scene, and the group changed their name simply to “Van Halen”.
Eddie’s Custom-made Trademark Guitars
Eddie began custom building his own guitars. While using the shape of a Fender Stratocaster, he would then cover the body in strips of tape to create a wild, sort of retro design, which become in no time another trademark of his.
Other Works Eddie Van Halen has Appeared On
Eddie Van Halen has featured on several works since the success of Van Halen. One of his most guest appearances, which you’ll hear on Kevin Lane’s show this coming Saturday, is a solo on Michael Jackson’s, “Beat It”. He also collaborated with Queen’s Brian May (1983’s Star Fleet Project) and Roger Waters (“Lost Boys Calling” from 1999’s The Legend of 1900 soundtrack), film soundtracks, such as those for the movies The Wild Life (1985) and Twister (1996). (Source)
Fans Commemorate Eddie Van Halen’s Life on Social Media
Social Media has been blanketed with posts and remembrances for Eddie. Van Halen’s music has influenced and touched generations of musicians and fans alike. Some say he revolutionized rock music as we know it.
Billy Squier commented on his Facebook page, “Sad to hear about Eddie Van Halen, who I had the good fortune to know and pal around with back in our younger days. For me, he was the last of the great rock guitar-players, often copied but never bettered. His solo on “Beat It” is a template for the kick-ass rock solo within the pop format. He was something else…”
The Western Australia Police Force commemorated Van Halen with a bagpipe version of Jump.
The profile from Kiss’ Eric Carr says, “Our prays to the family of Eddie Van Halen. Eric and Eddie became good friends over the years. Everyone knew everyone in the Rock in the 80’s. All one big happy family. When Eric would go to California he would spend many nights, at the Van Halen home. Eddie and Alex sent my family a beautiful message and flowers. Bless you Eddie. Bless your family.”
The Band Crowbar stated on their Facebook page: “I really don’t think there is enough space to write about Eddie Van Halen!!￼ He has been an inspiration for so many and he was so damn talented. He will be truly missed by so many people. Thank God that we have all of his amazing music to still listen to and I know it will be listened to for many many years to come because he was influencing young people to this day. Rest in peace Eddie ￼ and God bless your family through this difficult time.”
Listen to an Hour Tribute Show to Eddie Van Halen on Rebel Radio
Be sure to tune in to Rebel Radio this Saturday, October 10th, at 7p.m, as Kevin Lane plays a full hour tribute to Eddie Van Halen. The show will feature some of Van Halen’s greatest tracks, interview segments, and a retrospective of the life and career of the guitar legend. Be sure to tune in.