Details We Know About Eddie Van Halen's Death

This year has been a painful one, and it isn't over yet. Fans were dismayed to hear about the death of another beloved icon in 2020 on October 6, when the news broke that music legend Eddie Van Halen had passed away.

The rocker's tragic death was announced by his son, Wolfgang Van Halen. "I can't believe I'm having to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning," he wrote on Twitter. "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 fully recover from this loss."

TMZ reported that Van Halen had been battling cancer for over a decade. In the last 72 hours, he learned that the cancer had moved from his throat to his brain and other organs. Sources told the outlet that he had been in and out of the hospital for a year, and had recently gone through a round of chemotherapy.

Eddie Van Halen had been battling cancer for years

Van Halen was just 65 at the time of his death. He did not talk much about his battle with cancer in recent years, although it was well known that he had been diagnosed with cancer in the early 2000s, and had one-third of his tongue surgically removed due to the disease.

Van Halen speculated that the cancer was caused by his guitar picks. "I used metal picks — they're brass and copper — which I always held in my mouth, in the exact place where I got the tongue cancer," he told Billboard in 2015. "Plus, I basically live in a recording studio that's filled with electromagnetic energy. So that's one theory. I mean, I was smoking and doing a lot of drugs and a lot of everything. But at the same time, my lungs are totally clear. This is just my own theory, but the doctors say it's possible."

As Dr. Tom Micklewright told Insider, though, Van Halen's smoking was the most likely culprit.

Eddie Van Halen passed away surrounded by loved ones

For years, Van Halen seemed to be in good shape. TMZ reported in October 2019, though, that Van Halen's cancer had returned, and that he had been fighting it for years. Sources claimed cancer cells migrated down Van Halen's throat over the years, and that doctors regularly scraped them out. According to these sources, Van Halen had been flying to Germany for five years for radiation treatments to keep the cancer in check, a treatment which had been successful.

While sources reported at the time that Van Halen was doing well, a few months later his health was in decline. "Ed's not doing well," he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in January.

Van Halen passed away surrounded by loved ones. TMZ noted that he passed at Santa Monica, California's St. John's hospital with his wife, Janie, at his side. His son, Wolfgang, and brother, Alex, were also there.