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Virtuoso guitarist Eddie Van Halen dies of cancer at 65

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Oct 06, 2020 10:13 pm

Van Halen was widely regarded as “the most influential guitarist of his generation and his band, Van Halen, one of the most popular rock acts of all time.”

The rock icon’s death was announced today on Twitter by his and actress Valerie Bertinelli’s son, Wolf Van Halen.

“My father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning. He was the best father I could 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,” Wolf Van Halen wrote.

Bertinelli posted a photo with him and their baby son Wolf with the words, “I will see you in our next life my love.”

The Dutch-American brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen formed the rock group Van Halen with David Lee Roth in the ‘70s. They released more than a dozen albums and became one of rock’s biggest bands.

Jim Farber of the New York Times called Eddie Van Halen “the most influential guitarist of his generation and his band, Van Halen, one of the most popular rock acts of all time.”

The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s signature guitar playing can be heard on the tracks Jump, Why Can’t This Be Love? and Runnin’ With the Devil among many hits.

He also played the guitar on Michael Jackson’s 1983 hit Beat It.

“My whole life has been music,” he said in an interview with CNN in 2017. “I could not imagine anything else.”

Legendary rock musicians have reacted to his death. Lenny Kravitz wrote on Twitter, “Heaven will be electric tonight.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ guitarist Flea (Michael Peter Balzary) said, “I hope you jam with Jimi (Hendrix) tonight.”

Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler wrote, “Just when I thought 2020 couldn't get any worse, I hear Eddie Van Halen has passed. So shocking—one of the nicest, down to earth men I have ever met and toured with. A true gent and true genius. RIP. So sad. Thoughts go out to his brother Alex, and his family.”

His band mate Sammy Hagar posted a picture of himself with Van Halen and wrote, “Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family.”

Gene Simmons of KISS wrote, “My heart is broken. Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul.”

On Metallica’s official Twitter account, the band members said, “We considered him an inspiration, an idol, and after spending a summer together on the road in ‘88, a friend.”

Eddie Van Halen was married to HGTV host and actress Valerie Bertinelli from 1981 to 2007, and had one child with her, Wolfgang Van Halen. He married Janie Liszewski in 2009.