(CelebrityAccess) — Eddie Van Halen, the lead guitarist of the legendary rock band Van Halen, has died according to posts on social media. He was 65.
Van Halen’s son Wolf announced his father’s passing on Twitter on Tuesday, writing:
“I can’t believe I have to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, 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, who was born in Amsterdam, moved to the United States with his family while when the relocated to Pasedena, California in 1962.
“We came here with approximately $50 and a piano, and we didn’t speak the language. Now look where we are. If that’s not the American dream, what is.” he said in a 2015 interview with The Takeaway.
While his initial interest in music was the piano and drums, he switched to guitar after hearing his older brother Alex performing a rendition of the drum solo on the Surfaris classic “Wipeout.”
The brothers went on to form a band and changed the band’s name to Van Halen in 1974, performing in clubs in Los Angeles, including the famed Whisky a Go Go.
In 1977, they landed a recording contract with Warner and scored a hit with their self-titled debut which peaked at #19 on the Billboard pop chart.
Van Halen went on to become one of the most successful rock acts of the era, fueled by the success of albums such as “1984” which was led by the #1 pop single “Jump.”
While “Jump” earned Van Halen their first Grammy nomination, they didn’t’ win a trophy of their own until 1992 when they took home the Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal for the album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.
Apart from his work with Van Halen, Eddie collaborated on side projects with artists including KISS’s Gene Simmons, and played the guitar solo for Michael Jackson’s smash hit “Beat it.”
Although he had a successful career as a musician, Van Halen also battled addiction to alcohol and drugs and entered rehab in 2007.
He was treated for tongue cancer in 2000 and ultimately had a large portion of his tongue removed. In 2019, he revealed he had been battling throat cancer for five years.
Following his passing, tributes from his colleagues in the music world came pouring in:
Gene Simmons of KISS wrote on Twitter: “Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul.”
In another Twitter post, Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath called Van Halen “”A true gent and true genius,” and said he was “one of the nicest, down to Earth men I have ever met and toured with.”