Rock aficionados are mourning the passing of Eddie Van Halen, guitarist of the wildly successful rock band Van Halen. The 65-year-old passed away on Tuesday morning after battling throat cancer for several years.
Variety reports that it was Wolfgang, Van Halen’s son with actress Valerie Bertinelli, who broke the news on his Twitter account. In his statement, Wolf called Van Halen “the best father he could ever ask for” and said that he may not ever recover from the loss he has suffered.
Celebrity tributes also began pouring in as soon as the news was made public. David Lee Roth, former Van Halen frontman, posted a photo of him with Eddie Van Halen and captioned it with “What a Long Great Trip It’s Been.”
Another former Van Halen frontman, Sammy Hagar, also described Van Halen’s passing as leaving him speechless and heartbroken.
Gene Simmons of the band Kiss described Van Halen as a genuinely beautiful soul aside from being a guitar god.
Meanwhile, Nikki Sixx of the band Mötley Crüe said Van Halen’s passing left him crushed. He also described Van Halen as a “Mozart of rock guitar.”
Rock musicians Lenny Kravitz and Billy Idol also mourned Van Halen’s passing, with Kravitz commenting that heaven will be “electric” while Idol expressed that he would miss the guitarist.
In its obituary for Van Halen, Rolling Stone recounted the influence Van Halen and his band had on the rock music scene. The magazine credits Van Halen with popularizing two-handed tapping on the guitar and introducing it to the general public.
The magazine also described Van Halen’s 1978 LP Van Halen as the most perfect debut of any rock group in history. The debut landed them on number 19 on the Billboard 200 and resulted in them opening for Black Sabbath.
Their next hit record was 1984, which landed on number 2 on the Billboard 200 and produced MTV staples like Hot for Teacher, Panama, and Jump.
When their first vocalist David Lee Roth left the band, he was replaced with former Montrose frontman Sammy Hagar. With the new lineup, Van Halen was finally able to produce a number one album with 5150. More number one albums followed after: 0U812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, and Balance.
Van Halen’s death is just the latest high-profile celebrity death to happen this year, with the most recent one being that of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, who also suffered from cancer. Celebrity attendees at his private memorial included Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, and Winston Duke.