Eddie Van Halen, the legendary guitarist of Van Halen, has passed away from cancer. He was 65.
TMZ reported the news, adding that Van Halen died at St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica with his wife Janie by his side. His son Wolfgang and brother and Van Halen drummer Alex were also there.
Eddie’s son took to Twitter to share the news of his father’s passing. “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,” the tweet reads.
Van Halen formed in 1972 with Eddie on guitar and Alex on drums. Though the band was known for their rotation of lead singers—including David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar—the Dutch-born Van Halen brothers remained constants, releasing 12 studio albums and selling tens of millions of copies since their founding.
Songs like “Dance the Night Away,” “Panama,” and “Hot For Teacher” made the band famous. Their album 1984, the sixth Van Halen studio album, was their best-selling, and featured the hit single “Jump.”
Eddie suffered a number of health issues through the years. He had hip replacement surgery in 1999, tongue cancer in the 2000s, and surgery for diverticulitis in 2012. His longstanding substance abuse issues landed him in rehab in 2007.
But through it all, Eddie Van Halen persevered, and was known for having a tight-knit family. His son Wolf joined Van Halen as bassist in 2006, only tightening that bond. We wish that they could have had more years together playing through Van Halen’s many hits.
Throat cancer claimed Eddie Van Halen in the end, but he leaves behind an impressive and legendary rock n’ roll career. One full of guitar shredding and loyalty to a band that has proven to stand the test of time.