It was the end of an era for an entire generation of rock fans and musicians who came of age in the 1980’s, as the news spread one year ago today — October 6th, 2020 — that Eddie Van Halen died at age 65 after years of battling throat cancer. He is survived by his son Wolfgang, second wife Janie, and brother and Van Halen bandmate, Alex Van Halen.
Wolfgang posted a message to fans on social media, which read: “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 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.”
Wolfgang’s mother, actress Valerie Bertinelli, Eddie’s first wife of 26 years, simply tweeted 20 broken hearts.
Former bandmate Sammy Hagar posted: “Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family.”
David Lee Roth posted a backstage shot of him and Eddie during the past decade, writing, “What a Long Great Trip It’s Been.”
Michael Anthony posted photos of him and Eddie onstage during the early-’80s, writing: “No words…Heartbroken, my love to the family.”
In November 2019, a report from TMZ claimed that Van Halen was resting at home after spending several days in the hospital due to complications from his treatment for cancer. According to sources close to the legendary musician, Eddie was admitted to the hospital with abdominal pain and intestinal issues. Both issues were reportedly a bad reaction to the drugs that Eddie has been taking to battle throat cancer.
Prior to that, it was reported that Eddie had been traveling between the U.S. and Germany for several years to get treatment for throat cancer. The guitarist had one-third of his tongue removed in 2000 due to the same ailment.
Eddie Van Halen revolutionized not only the electric guitar, but the sound of the 1980’s with his signature two-finger guitar tapping and iconic use of speed on the instrument. Van Halen, who was born in Nijmegen, Netherlands, on January 26th, 1955, was bi-racial, with his mother being a Dutch national of Indonesian decent. The family, including older brother Alex, moved to the U.S. in 1962, eventually settling in Pasadena, California.
Eddie Van Halen’s body of work with Van Halen includes some of the most fun and influential albums in rock history: Van Halen (1978); Van Halen II (1979); Women And Children First (1980); Fair Warning (1981); Diver Down (1982); 1984 (1984); 5150 (1986); OU812 (1988); For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991); Live: Right Here, Right Now (1993); Balance (1995); Van Halen III (1998); A Different Kind Of Truth (2012); and Tokyo Dome – Live in Concert (2015).
Wolfgang Van Halen‘s debut album, Mammoth WVH was released on June 11th, 2021 and debuted big across the Billboard charts. The set entered the Billboard 200 albums chart at Number 12.
Mammoth WVH also topped the charts on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums, Hard Rock Albums, and Independent Albums lists.
“Distance,” the debut single from Mammoth WVH, hit Number One on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart and Number Nine on the magazine’s Hot Rock & Alternative Songs list. The album’s “Don’t Back Down” topped out at Number 10 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart.
Mammoth WVH just wrapped a major stadium tour opening for Guns N’ Roses, and kicks off an eight-date October run on October 12th at L.A.’s Whisky a Go Go.
David Lee Roth, who had opened for Kiss prior to the pandemic, has announced his retirement following his December and January Las Vegas shows at the House of Blues.
Sammy Hagar revealed he and Eddie Van Halen had repaired their friendship in the months before Eddie’s death, frequently texting and joking with each other. Hagar, who still tours and records with Van Halen‘s Michael Anthony as part of the Circle, has been a vocal proponent of a massive Eddie Van Halen tribute concert featuring every member that’s ever been part of Van Halen performing together.
CHECK IT OUT: Van Halen during its final show on October 2nd, 2015 performing “Dance The Night Away” at L.A.’s Hollywood Bowl: