Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen, who helped found the eponymous rock band Van Halen, died at age 65 after battling cancer, according to his son.
Wolf Van Halen confirmed his death on social media Tuesday.
“I can’t believe I’m having to write this,” Wolf wrote, “but my father Edward Lodewijk Van Halen has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning.”
— Wolf Van Halen (@WolfVanHalen) October 6, 2020
The elder Van Halen had been battling cancer for years.
“He was the best father I could ever ask for,” his son continued. “Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift.”
Wolf Van Halen added that “[his] heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from the loss,” adding: “I love you so much, pop.”
There was an outpouring of grief on social media.
“My heart is broken … Rest in peace, Eddie! …Eddie Van Halen Dead at 65 from Cancer,” wrote KISS singer Gene Simmons.
Oh man, bless his beautiful creative heart. I love you Eddie Van Halen, an LA boy, a true rocker. I hope you jam with Jimi tonight. Break through to the other side my brother. ❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/XpcTlPJq9A
— Flea (@flea333) October 6, 2020
Added Red Hot Chilli Peppers bassist Flea: “Oh man, bless his beautiful creative heart. I love you Eddie Van Halen, an LA boy, a true rocker. I hope you jam with Jimi tonight. Break through to the other side my brother.”
“RIP Eddie Van Halen, 65. One of the greatest guitarists in music history and a delightfully warm, funny guy,” wrote pundit Piers Morgan.
Years ago, Eddie told Billboard News that he believes his cancer originated from cradling a metal guitar pick in his mouth when he played.
He told Billboard in 2015: “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.”
“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,” he explained.
In 2015, Van Halen reportedly underwent emergency surgery for diverticulitis, which involves inflammation and infection of the colon.