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.
— Wolf Van Halen (@WolfVanHalen) October 6, 2020
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.”
Legendary guitar and musical innovator Edward Van Halen. 1955-2020. Heaven will be electric tonight. pic.twitter.com/hdLd7atI74— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) October 6, 2020
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ guitarist Flea (Michael Peter Balzary) said, “I hope you jam with Jimi (Hendrix) tonight.”
Oh man, bless his beautiful creative heart. I love you Eddie Van Halen, an LA boy, a true rocker. I hope you jam with Jimi tonight. Break through to the other side my brother. ❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/XpcTlPJq9A— Flea (@flea333) October 6, 2020
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.”
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. pic.twitter.com/fwIw040YMX— Geezer Butler (@geezerbutler) October 6, 2020
His band mate Sammy Hagar posted a picture of himself with Van Halen and wrote, “Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family.”
Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family. pic.twitter.com/MQMueMF2XO— Sammy Hagar (@sammyhagar) October 6, 2020
Gene Simmons of KISS wrote, “My heart is broken. Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul.”
My heart is broken. Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul. Rest in peace, Eddie! ...Eddie Van Halen Dead at 65 from Cancer https://t.co/gITtcndQVv— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) October 6, 2020
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.”
We are enormously saddened to hear about the untimely passing of Eddie Van Halen. We considered him an inspiration, an idol, and after spending a summer together on the road in '88, a friend. Sending love to Alex, @wolfvanhalen & everyone in the greater VH family.— Metallica (@Metallica) October 6, 2020
? @RossHalfin pic.twitter.com/wZ9ZKNmK0q
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.