Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 October 2020

Eddie Van Halen dies from cancer at the age of 65

The guitarist, known as one of rock's greats, died following a long battle with lung cancer

Eddie Van Halen, one of rock’s most celebrated guitarists, died of cancer on Tuesday. He was 65.

His death was announced by his son, Wolfgang, 29, a bass player in the band Van Halen, best known for songs such as Jump and Ain't Talkin 'Bout Love.

"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," Wolfgang wrote on Twitter.

Representatives for Eddie Van Halen did not disclose details of his death. However, People magazine reported the rocker died at a Los Angeles-area hospital with his wife, Janie, son and other family members at his side.

"Through all your challenging treatments for lung cancer you kept your gorgeous spirit and that impish grin," his ex-wife of 26 years, actress Valerie Bertinelli, wrote.

Fans placed flowers and guitar picks on Van Halen's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

"What a long, great trip it’s been," the band's frontman during its glory years, David Lee Roth, said in a message on Twitter, written above a black-and-white photo of the two men clenching hands backstage at a concert.

Eddie Van Halen was born in Amsterdam on January, 26, 1955, and studied classical piano after moving to the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena with his family in the 1960s.

After switching to guitar, he and his older brother, Alex, who took up the drums, formed bands that would eventually become Van Halen in the mid-1970s, with lead singer Roth and bassist Michael Anthony.

The hard-rock band, featuring Eddie Van Halen's explosive riffs and solos, quickly became a staple of Sunset Strip clubs such as Gazzari's and Whisky a Go Go, before they released their eponymous debut album in 1978.

That album shot to Number 19 on the Billboard charts, becoming one of the most successful debuts of the decade and the first in a string of top-selling albums that would make Van Halen one of the biggest rock acts of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Eddie Van Halen, known for his two-handed tapping technique on the strings, earned a place alongside Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page as one of rock's most celebrated guitarists. In 2012, readers of Guitar World magazine voted him the greatest of all time.

Roth, who often clashed with the Van Halen brothers, split from the band in the mid-1980s and was replaced for a decade by Sammy Hagar. The original line-up reunited in 2007 for a tour and, four years later, an album.

"My heart is broken. Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul," said Gene Simmons, lead singer of Kiss and an early champion of Van Halen with record companies.

Updated: October 7, 2020 01:44 PM

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