Eddie Van Halen, legendary Dutch-American rock guitarist, has passed away at the age of 65 after a long battle with cancer.
Commonly known by rock fans as simply EVH, his death was announced on his son’s (Wolfgang Van Halen) Instagram account on the morning of 6 October 2020. Wolfgang said “He was the best father I could ever ask for… My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss. I love you so much, Pop.”
Widely regarded as one of the greatest guitar players of all time, perhaps having most famously performed the guitar solo on the Michael Jackson song ‘Beat It’, EVH’s death sent shock waves through the rock community.
Steve Vai, another guitar playing contemporary of EVH, wrote on his Instagram that he was “Feeling deep sadness and overwhelming appreciation. The appreciation and love for him is bigger though. Let’s take a minute and try to imagine our world if he never showed up. It’s unthinkable. Thank you King Edward. You are deeply loved and will be missed.”
Heavy Metal legends Metallica wrote on their Instagram “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.”
Gene Simmons, KISS bassist and co-lead vocalist, wrote on Twitter “My heart is broken. Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul. Rest in peace, Eddie!”
Sammy Hagar, lead vocalist of EVH’s band ‘Van Halen’ from 1985 to 1996, also wrote on twitter he was that “Heartbroken and speechless.”
David Lee Roth, original Van Halen vocalist from 1974 to 1985 and again from 2006 onwards, has been quiet about his bandmate’s death. Roth simply wrote on twitter “What a Long Great Trip It’s Been” on twitter accompanied by a more recent picture of him and EVH.
EVH had been battling cancer on and off since 2001 having been declared cancer free in 2002. TMZ reported last year however that he had receiving radiation treatment for throat cancer over the past five years. TMZ has also reported that his condition deteriorated rapidly in the 72 hours leading up to his death with his cancer having spread to his brain among other organs.
EVH died at the St Johns Hospital in Santa Monica, California. By his bedside were wife Janie Liszewski and Wolfgang, along with brother, drummer, and Van Halen co-founder Alex.