Eddie Van Halen, totemic rock guitarist and leader of the band Van Halen, has died aged 65.
His son Wolfgang, who has also played bass for Van Halen since 2006, revealed the news yesterday 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 was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift.”
— Wolf Van Halen (@WolfVanHalen) October 6, 2020
Some of rock’s biggest names lined up to pay tribute. “I’m just devastated to hear the news of the passing of my dear friend Eddie Van Halen,” wrote Tony Iommi. “Eddie was one of a very special kind of person, a really great friend.”
“Just when I thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse, I hear Eddie Van Halen has passed,” added Iommi’s Black Sabbath bandmate Geezer Butler. “So shocking – one of the nicest, down to Earth men I have ever met and toured with. A true gent and true genius.”
Muse hailed Van Halen as “one of the greatest guitarists of all time” while Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready called him “Mozart for guitar”.
I’m just devastated to hear the news of the passing of my dear friend Eddie Van Halen. He fought a long and hard battle with his cancer right to the very end. Eddie was one of a very special kind of person, a really great friend. Rest In Peace my dear friend till we meet again. pic.twitter.com/Qs8tsLPANJ
— Tony Iommi (@tonyiommi) October 6, 2020
Just when I thought 2020 couldn't get any worse, I hear Eddie Van Halen has passed. So shocking- One of the nicest, down to Earth men I have ever met and toured with. A true gent and true genius. RIP. So sad.Thoughts go out to his brother Alex, and his family. pic.twitter.com/fwIw040YMX
— Geezer Butler (@geezerbutler) October 6, 2020
— Pearl Jam (@PearlJam) October 6, 2020
One of the greatest guitarists of all time! Rest in peace Eddie Van Halen pic.twitter.com/T0unvRXYmf
— muse (@muse) October 6, 2020
Meanwhile on BBC Breakfast news this morning, an emotional Gene Simmons urged young people to stop texting and tweeting for a moment and listen to “the wonder of Eddie Van Halen”:
"Force them to sit down and stop texting and tweeting and introduce them to the wonder of Eddie Van Halen"
On #BBCBreakfast Kiss singer Gene Simmons urges fans to introduce young people to the rock band Van Halen.https://t.co/hdeRxwV8L4 pic.twitter.com/VyM7NZLBlc
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) October 7, 2020