Cat Stevens, Jimmy Kimmel and others react to Eddie Van Halen’s death
“He was the best father I could ever ask for,” Van Halen’s son, Wolf Van Halen, tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “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.”
Eddie Van Halen, the innovative guitarist whose band climbed the charts with hits like “Jump” and “Runnin’ with the Devil,” has died after a long struggle with cancer. He was 65.
“He was the best father I could ever ask for,” Van Halen’s 29-year-old son, Wolf Van Halen, tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift.”
Van Halen placed eighth on Rolling Stone’s 2015 poll of the 100 greatest guitarists, according to Variety.
“Ed’s a once- or twice-in-a-century kind of guy. There’s Hendrix and there’s Eddie Van Halen,” Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell said in January 2019, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Those two guys tilted the world on its axis.”
Fans immediately began flooding Twitter with tributes to the legendary guitarist:
Two of the best hours of my life were spent chatting with Eddie Van Halen. A great musician, yes - also a funny and lovely guy who will be missed terribly. Sending love to Janie, Wolf, Alex & all those who loved him.— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) October 6, 2020
I can not believe I’m writing this. When anyone asks me what’s the first song I remember as a kid, the is answer is Jump. Jumping off of a plastic kids picnic table reaching for the sky at the age of 5. Van Halen has been a huge part of my whole life. RIP LEGEND ♥️ pic.twitter.com/cYHzggVCPm— Ash ✨ (@foreveaendeavor) October 6, 2020
The guitarist — who never mastered the art of reading music — was 22 when his band released its debut album, “Van Halen,” in 1978, the Los Angeles Times reported. It quickly hit the top 20. Over the years, the band had 23 songs on the all-genre Billboard 100, including three top 10s and one No. 1 hit, according to radio.com. Van Halen also contributed his guitar chops to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” for free, as a favor for producer Quincy Jones, CNN reported.
The band Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
Van Halen was born Jan. 26, 1955, in Amsterdam. His family moved to Pasadena when he was 7. Initially, his parents hoped for Van Halen and his brother, Alex, to become classical musicians, according to the Los Angeles Times. The two formed Van Halen in the early 1970s.
Van Halen faced a number of health issues over the years. In 1999, he had a hip replacement and lost part of his tongue to cancer, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“The way I look at it is like this: I’ve run too many red lights and gotten away with it for a long time, but it kinda caught up with me. I believe that God doesn’t lay this on you unless you’re supposed to learn something,” the guitarist and avid golfer said during a 2001 interview with Maximum Golf magazine, according to the Associated Press.
Van Halen’s cause of death was throat cancer, according to TMZ, the first publication to break the news.
Throughout his treatment, Van Halen continued to attend concerts and play music with his son, who became the bass player for Van Halen in the mid-2000s, according to BBC News.
“My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss,” Wolf Van Halen tweeted.