RIP Eddie Van Halen: Legendary Guitarist Dies of Cancer, Likely Shredding in Heaven

Guitars are weeping all over the world. Eddie Van Halen, the wickedly skilled guitarist and co-founder of rock band Van Halen, has died. He succumbed to throat cancer at the age of 65.

The musical icon had been battling cancer for more than a decade. He went as far as Germany to receive radiation treatment, but his condition took a sudden turn for the worst over the last year. He died at St. John’s Hospital today in Santa Monica surrounded by his wife Janie, his son Wolfgang, and his brother Alex.

Wolfgang, who assumed the role of Van Halen bassist in 2006, announced the sad news in an Instagram post this afternoon.

 

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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. My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss. I love you so much, Pop.

A post shared by Wolf Van Halen (@wolfvanhalen) on

“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,” he wrote.

According to TMZ, Eddie attributed his disease to a metal guitar pick he often kept in his mouth decades ago, but he was also a longtime heavy smoker.

Van Halen formed in 1972 in Pasadena. In the original incarnation of the band, Eddie played guitar, Alex Van Halen played drums, Michael Anthony played bass, and David Lee Roth sang. While Van Halen achieved superstardom in its own right, Eddie’s guitar solo in Michael Jackson’s 1982 hit “Beat It” further propelled the group to notoriety. The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

We can only hope Eddie Van Halen is up in heaven doing what he does best: shredding. Here are a handful of GIFs to remember the legendary guitarist by.

Cover Photo: Paul Natkin / Contributor (Getty Images)

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