Eddie Van Halen, the legendary guitarist of Van Halen and rock icon, has died. The musician passed away at the age of 65 following a lengthy battle with throat cancer. The news was confirmed by his son, Wolfgang Van Halen, on Twitter. He wrote the following.
"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. 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."
Eddie Van Halen had been battling cancer for more than a decade. He had been receiving treatment for years. But his condition worsened over the course of the past year. He passed away at St. Johns Hospital in California with his wife, Janie Liszewski, reportedly by his side. Halen's ex-wife, actress Valerie Bertinelli, responded to Wolfgang's tweet with a series of broken heart emoji.
Born in 1955, Eddie Van Halen is widely considered to be among the greatest guitar players of all time. He originally formed a classic rock band in 1972 before changing the name to Van Halen, who would go on to become one of the most accomplished rock bands in history.
The original lineup consisted of Eddie's brother, drummer Alex Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony. The lineup changed throughout the years, with Wolfgang Van Halen eventually becoming the bass player. Sammy Hagar also notably replaced Roth as the singer for a time beginning in 1985.
Some of Van Halen's biggest hits include Jump, Panama, Hot for Teacher and Runnin' With the Devil. The band has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide, making them one of the best-selling artists in history. Both the band's self-titled debut and 1984 went on to sell more than 10 million copies in the U.S. alone. As for Eddie, his guitar work is legendary and came in at number one in a Guitar World reader's poll of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, which was released in 2012.
Outside of Van Halen, the musician had a prosperous career. Eddie Van Halen famously played the guitar solo on Michael Jackson's Beat It on Thriller. The single was one of Jackson's biggest hits and Thriller remains the highest-selling album of all time. Halen's music has also been featured on the soundtracks of more than 100 movies and TV shows over the years including Twister, Ready Player One and Freaks and Geeks. He scored the movie The Wild Life, which was an unofficial sequel to Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He also contributed guitar and vocals on Queen guitarist Brian May's solo album Star Fleet Project. Van Halen was also the subject of a Guitar Hero game that was released in 2009 at the height of the game's popularity. We have included Wolf Van Halen's Twitter post. RIP, Eddie Van Halen.