The Heartbreaking Death Of Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen, co-founder of the legendary rock ban Van Halen, passed away today at age 65, reports TMZ. The talented guitarist had battled throat cancer for over a decade, the outlet reports, and he died surrounded by loved ones — his wife, Janie, his son, Wolfgang, and his brother (and fellow co-founder of their band), Alex. 

Van Halen was diagnosed with cancer years ago, but his health had gone downhill as of late. TMZ reported last year that he'd been jetting between Germany and the United States for radiation treatment, and the last three days of his life, it was discovered that his cancer had spread into other organs, including his brain.

His son, Wolfgang Van Halen (the band's current bassist), wrote a heartfelt tribute to his dad today on 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," he wrote. "He was the best father I could ever 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 truly recover from this loss. I love you so much, Pop."

Eddie Van Halen's death is a passing of a true legend

Eddie Van Halen was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and moved to the U.S. in 1962 (via New York Post). In the early '70s, he and his brother formed their eponymous band with lead vocalist David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony. The band was a mainstay of the '80s and beyond (their last studio album was released in 2012, according to AllMusic), and sold 80 million records around the globe. 

The band was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, and their music has remained a beloved soundtrack for many. 

Eddie Van Halen was profoundly gifted at his instrument. In 2019, Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell said (via Los Angeles Times), "Ed's a once- or twice-in-a-century kind of guy. There's Hendrix and there's Eddie Van Halen. Those two guys tilted the world on its axis."

Along with his family, the music world mourns this loss, as do his many fans.