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Rock star Eddie Van Halen dies at the age of 65 after a long battle with throat cancer


Rock star Eddie Van Halen died Tuesday at the age of 65.

The 1980s guitarist and co-founder of Van Halen has been battling throat cancer for over a decade. He died at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, with his wife Janie, son Wolfgang, and brother and drummer Alex next to him, according to TMZ.

"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," Wolfgang said in a tweet. He added, “He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I shared with him on and off the stage was a gift … My heart is broken and I don't think I'll ever fully recover from this loss. & # 39;

Eddie, who never really learned to read music, had a sudden loss of health in the past 72 hours, according to TMZ. According to reports, his throat cancer had gotten into his brain as well as other parts of the body. The website added that he had been "in and out of hospital" for the past year.

Van Halen is considered one of the greatest guitarists in rock music, and Eddie was a founding member of the hugely successful rock band named after him and his drum brother. The group was formed in 1972 together with Michael Anthony on bass and David Lee Roth as singer. The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

The guitar virtuoso also fueled the unmistakably fiery solo in Michael Jackson's hit & # 39; Beat It & # 39; and was made a rock god. Van Halen is one of the top 20 best-selling artists of all time and Rolling Stone magazine put Eddie Van Halen at number 8 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.

Happy on stage: the star can be seen here in 1984 in Madison Square Garden in New York

Sad loss: Musician Eddie Van Halen died Tuesday at the age of 65. It can be seen on the left in April 2017 and on the right in 1984 in Madison Square Garden, New York

Van Halen (left to right) Eddie Van Halen, Michael Anthony, Alex Van Halen and David Lee Roth. The band is pictured in 1978

Van Halen (left to right) Eddie Van Halen, Michael Anthony, Alex Van Halen and David Lee Roth. The band is pictured in 1978

Kiss frontman Gene Simmons wrote, “My heart is broken. Eddie wasn't just a guitar god, he was a really beautiful soul. Rest in peace, Eddie! & # 39; In 1976 he saw a then unknown Eddie play for the first time, who signed up his band for a 15-song demo.

Simmons has previously said of their performance, “Even though the band was three part, a great sound came out of them and Eddie patted the neck with speed and accuracy – something I'd never seen on guitar before in the melody. They just didn't sound like any other. There was a kind of anger. & # 39;

Aerosmith's Instagram account posted a picture of Eddie and wrote: & # 39; Rest In Peace Eddie Van Halen. We will miss you. #Legend. & # 39; Singer Sammy Hagar said he was "broken and speechless" after the death of his former bandmate.

“You changed our world. You were the Mozart of the rock guitar. Travel-safe rock star, "Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx said on Twitter.

& # 39; Rest in peace guitar legend Eddie Van Halen. Broken Heart We will miss you, "tweeted Billy Idol.

Jimmy Kimmel tweeted, “I spent two of the best hours of my life with Eddie Van Halen. A great musician, yes – also a fun and lovable guy who is terribly missed. Send love to Janie, Wolf, Alex and everyone who loved him. & # 39;

"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," said his son Wolfgang Van Halen in a tweet

& # 39; Crushed. So damn crushed. RIP Eddie Van Halen. You changed our world. You were the Mozart of the rock guitar. Travel-safe rock star, ”tweeted Nikki Sixx from Mötley Crüe.

Kiss & # 39; Paul Stanley said: & # 39; Oh no! Speechless. A pioneer and someone who has always given his music everything. A good soul. I remember seeing him play Starwood for the first time in 1976 and he was Eddie Van Halen. So shocked and sad. My condolences to Wolfie and the family. & # 39;

“It wouldn't be an hour of the day or a day of the week in 2020 if we didn't get at least 22 horrific pieces at a time every few minutes. RIP #VanHalen & # 39; tweeted actor Josh Gad.

Kiss frontman Gene Simmons wrote, “My heart is broken. Eddie wasn't just a guitar god, he was a really beautiful soul. Rest in peace, Eddie! & # 39; In 1976 he first saw a then unknown Eddie play, who signed up his band for a 15-song demo

Kiss frontman Gene Simmons wrote, “My heart is broken. Eddie wasn't just a guitar god, he was a really beautiful soul. Rest in peace, Eddie! & # 39; In 1976 he saw a then unknown Eddie play for the first time, who signed up his band for a 15-song demo

Seasoned rocker Eddie was diagnosed with cancer nearly 20 years ago and had traveled between the United States and Germany for treatment.

After starting smoking at the age of 12, he struggled with alcohol and cocaine abuse. He went to the Betty Ford Center at Rancho Mirage and declared himself sober in 2008.

Eddie had a third of his tongue removed in 2000 and was reportedly declared cancer-free in 2002. For the past five years he has been in Germany to undergo radiation treatment. He had bowel problems in November and had undergone chemotherapy for the past few months.

Eddie and his brother Alex formed Van Halen in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, and the hard rock band became an integral part of the famous Sunset Strip before releasing their debut album of the same name in 1978.

With his distinct solos, Eddie Van Halen fueled the ultimate California party band and helped kick-start the disco from the late 1970s with his band's self-titled debut album and then with the blockbuster album & # 39; 1984 & # 39; which the classics & # 39; # 39; Jump & # 39; includes Throwing Off the Charts, Panama and Hot for Teacher.

The album shot to number 19 on the Billboard charts and became one of the most successful debuts of the decade.

Eddie Van Halen envisioned shopping at the Farmers Market with his second wife Janie Liszewski, whom he married in 2009

Eddie Van Halen envisioned shopping at the Farmers Market with his second wife Janie Liszewski, whom he married in 2009

He died at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California with his wife Janie beside him. The couple is pictured

He died at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California with his wife Janie beside him. The couple is pictured

The members of Van Halen – the two brothers Van Halen, Eddie and Alex; Singer David Lee Roth; and bassist Michael Anthony – were members of rival high school bands and then attended Pasadena City College together.

They formed the band Mammoth, but then switched to Van Halen after discovering that there was another band called Mammoth.

Their 1978 publication & # 39; Van Halen & # 39; was greeted with a glowing & # 39; runnin & # 39; With the Devil & # 39; opened, and then Eddie Van Halen showed his amazing skills on the next song & # 39; Eruption & # 39 ;, a furious 1:42 minute guitar solo that's like a nosedive and soaring is a disturbed bird. The album also included a cover of the kinks "You Really Got Me" and "Ain & # 39; t Talkin" Bout Love.

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready told Rolling Stone that hearing Van Halen's "Eruption" was like hearing Mozart for the first time. "He gets sounds that are not necessarily guitar sounds – a lot of harmonics, textures that only arise because of his selection."

Van Halen released albums on an annual schedule – "Van Halen II" (1979), "Women and Children First" (1980), "Fair Warning" (1981) and "Diver Down" (1982) – through the monumental "1984" . & # 39; which landed at number 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart (just behind Michael Jackson's & # 39; Thriller & # 39;). Rolling Stone ranked & # 39; 1984 & # 39; at number 81 on his list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s.

Eddie put the smile back on the rock guitar at a time when everyone was thinking a bit. He also scared a million guitarists around the world for being so damn good. And original, ”said Joe Satriani, a virtuoso colleague, to Billboard in 2015.

Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell said of his friend in 2019, “Ed is the kind of guy who plays once or twice a century. There's Hendrix and there's Eddie Van Halen.

"These two guys turned the world around on its axis."

He had son Wolfgang with One Day At A Time star Valerie Bertinelli. The couple married in 1981 and separated in 2001. His mini self became Van Halen's bass player in 2006.

Eddie married the stunt woman and publicist Janie Liszewski in 2009.

Eddie married One Day At A Time star Valerie Bertinelli in 1981 and separated in 2001. The couple can be seen in their eighties

Eddie married One Day At A Time star Valerie Bertinelli in 1981 and separated in 2001. The couple can be seen in their eighties

Eddie was born in Amsterdam and grew up in a musical household. His father was a classically trained clarinet and saxophonist.

As a child he took piano lessons before the family moved to America at age seven and settled in Pasadena, California.

"We showed up here with the equivalent of $ 50 and a piano," Eddie Van Halen told The Associated Press in 2015. "We came halfway around the world, with no money, no permanent job, no place to live and couldn't even speak." the language. & # 39;

He said his earliest memories of music were beating pots and pans together and marching to the marches of John Philip Sousa. Eventually Eddie got a drum kit that his older brother coveted.

"I never wanted to play the guitar," he confessed in a 2015 lecture at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. But his brother was good at drums, so Eddie gave in to his brother's wishes, "I said," Go on, get my drums. I'll play your damn guitar & # 39;

After his band signed with Warner Bros Records, producer Ted Templeman said, "There were about 11 people in the audience and they played like they did on the forum."

After recording the band's debut album at the age of 22, Van Halen reportedly ravaged their hotel room in Scotland when they heard it was worth gold in the US.

He was then asked by producer Quincy Jones to play the guitar solo on Michael Jackson's Beat It before Jump became the band's only number one.

His solo on Beat It lasted 20 seconds and the recording only lasted half an hour. He did Jones as a favor while the rest of his Van Halen bandmates were out of town.

Van Halen received no compensation or credit for the work, although he rearranged the section he played in. & # 39; It's been 20 minutes of my life. I didn't want anything for it, ”he told Billboard in 2015.

& # 39; I literally thought to myself: & # 39; Who might know when I play this kid's record? & # 39;

Rolling Stone has & # 39; Beat It & # 39; Ranked # 344 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Jackson's merger of Hard Rock and R&B preceded the Run-DMC and Aerosmith meeting by four years.

But after their world tour in 1984, tension broke out between Roth and the band and Roth left. The group then recruited Sammy Hagar as lead vocalist – some critics called the new phrase "Van Hagar" – and the band scored their first album # 1 on "5150".

Further studio albums followed, including "OU812", "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" and "Balance". Hit singles included "Why Can't That Be Love" and "When It's Love".

Hagar was ousted in 1996 and former Extreme singer Gary Cherone appeared on the album & # 39; Van Halen III & # 39; one, a stumbling block that didn't lead to another album and Cherone's quick exit. Roth would eventually return in 2007 and team up with brothers Van Halen and Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie's son, on bass for a tour of the album & # 39; A Different Kind of Truth & # 39; and the 2015 album & # 39; Tokyo Dome Live in Concert & # 39; merge.

Van Halen's music has appeared in films such as "Superbad", "Minions" and "Sing", as well as in television programs such as "Glee" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia". Video games like & # 39; Gran Turismo 4 & # 39; and & # 39; Guitar Hero & # 39; used his riffs. Her song & # 39; Jamie & # 39; s Cryin & # 39; was featured by rapper Tone Loc in his hit & # 39; Wild Thing & # 39; sampled.

After recording the band's debut album at the age of 22, Van Halen is said to have ravaged their hotel room in Scotland when they heard it was worth gold in the US. He was then asked by producer Quincy Jones to play the guitar solo on Michael Jackson's Beat It before Jump became the band's only number one

After recording the band's debut album at the age of 22, Van Halen is said to have ravaged their hotel room in Scotland when they heard it was worth gold in the US. He was then asked by producer Quincy Jones to play the guitar solo on Michael Jackson's Beat It before Jump became the band's only number one

Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony von Van Halen 1978 in London

Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony von Van Halen 1978 in London

For much of his career, Eddie Van Halen wrote and experimented with sounds while drunk or high, or both.

He announced that he was drinking vodka and sniffing cocaine in his hotel room while playing on a tape recorder. (Hagar's 2011 autobiography, & # 39; Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock, & # 39; shows Eddie as a violent vampire living in a trash-strewn house.)

"I didn't drink to party," Van Halen said to Billboard. “Alcohol and cocaine were private things to me. I would use them for work. The blow keeps you awake and the alcohol lowers your inhibitions. I'm sure there were musical things I wouldn't have tried if I hadn't been in this mental state. & # 39;

Van Halen had said he believed he got larynx cancer from putting a metal guitar pick in his mouth on stage despite being a heavy smoker.

Eddie told Billboard in 2015, “I used metal picks – brass and copper – that I kept in my mouth, right where I got tongue cancer.

Also, I basically live in a recording studio that is filled with electromagnetic energy. So that's a theory. I mean, I've smoked and done a lot of drugs and a lot of everything. At the same time, my lungs are completely clear. This is just my own theory, but the doctors say it is possible. & # 39;

Eddie's friend and TOTO guitarist Steve Lukather said last year that "health problems" were preventing the group from touring.

The band last performed at the LA Hollywood Bowl in October 2015.

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