Rocker dies following throat cancer
Eddie Van Halen has died at the age of 65 after a long battle with throat cancer. TMZ first reported the breaking news that the legendary guitarist died Tuesday (Oct 6) at a Santa Monica hospital after his health declined in the past 72 hours.
A short time later, his son, Wolfgang Van Halen, confirmed the news in an open letter on social media.
“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,” Wolfgang shares.
“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”
Reports indicate doctors just discovered Van Halen’s cancer had spread beyond his throat and into his brain and other organs. Van Halen had been battling the disease since 2000, but was declared cancer free in 2002, only for it to return in 2011. He rarely spoke about his well-being, but he confirmed a third of his tongue was removed upon initial treatments early on. He also recently underwent a new round of chemo, as he was in and out of the hospital over the past year, partly due to intestinal issues.
TMZ also says Van Halen had been flying back and forth between the U.S. and Germany for the past five years for radiation treatment. Van Halen was a heavy smoker, but had believed he contracted the disease from metal and copper guitar picks he frequently held in his mouth more than 20 years ago.
His wife, Janie, Wolfgang, and Eddie’s brother and drummer Alex, were by his side when he passed.
Van Halen, featuring Eddie and Alex with Michael Anthony on bass and David Lee Roth on vocals, emerged from the clubs along the Sunset Strip in the ’70s. His virtuosic guitar playing inspired countless guitarists behind him, but alcohol and drug abuse deteriorated the band through the years.
Roth left in 1984, and Sammy Hagar took over vocals in 1985 when the band arguably earned its biggest success with albums such as 5150 and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. A falling out later led to Hagar and Anthony’s departure. Years later, the band reunited with Roth and added Wolfgang as its bassist and backing vocalist.
Van Halen and Roth have reunited off and on for tours in recent years, releasing its potentially final album, A Different Kind of Truth, in 2012. In 2016, we reported that a reunion tour and album was set for the group’s 40th anniversary in 2018, but nothing solidified. It was also suggested that Hagar would some how “take part” of the festivities as he and Eddie exchanged tweets after years of silence between the pair. However, Hagar has stated several times in the past that he would never return to Van Halen without Anthony.
In 2018, Anthony was approached about touring in 2019, but talks dissolved and questions went unanswered. Anthony later dismissed those talks, only to confirm he was actually approached by Van Halen’s management, but was left hanging.
The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
Tributes can be heard all day on SiriusXM. Tune into Classic Rewind (Ch. 25), Classic Vinyl (Ch. 26), Deep Tracks (Ch. 27), Ozzy’s Boneyard (Ch. 38), Hair Nation (Ch. 39), VOLUME (Ch. 106), Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Radio (Ch. 310), SiriusXM Comes Alive! (Ch. 316) to hear exclusive tributes to the rock great, as well as his music. Eddie Trunk extended his show by an hour on VOLUME to pay tribute and take fan calls about the guitarist’s impact on the world.
Per the usual, celebrities have shared their thoughts via social media.