Rock Icon Eddie Van Halen Dead at 65
Longtime legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen has died at the age of 65.
It was reported that Van Halen died Tuesday, October 6, after a long battle with throat cancer. He passed away accompanied by his wife, Janie, son Wolfgang, and brother and Van Halen co-founder Alex at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California.
His death was first report by TMZ.
It was widely known that Van Halen had been suffering from cancer for several years and sought treatment both stateside and in Germany.
Wolfgang Van Halen, his only child and current member of Van Halen, wrote via Twitter:
“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.”
Born Edward Lodewijk Van Halen in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1955, his family emigrated to Pasadena, California, at age 7. At that time Eddie had expressed interest in classic piano. Having trouble reading sheet music, he gave up the piano, and both he and older brother Alex learned to play new instruments. Interestingly, his brother Alex was initially a guitarist and Eddie a drummer. During their youth, his brother would often play Eddie’s drums without his permission, and Eddie’s juvenile response was to play his brother’s guitar in the same manner. Eventually they switched instruments, and Eddie went on to become a guitar virtuoso and has been consistently ranked in the top five greatest guitarists of all time. Van Halen as a band reached their greatest commercial success in 1984 when “Jump” reached the number one position on the Billboard chart. The band has won numerous awards, including a Grammy Award in 1992 for Best Hard Rock Performance with For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.
The last tour the band would take was the “Van Halen 2015 Tour” that covered 39 cities and 41 shows, with the band’s final performance taking place October 4, 2015, at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.