Eddie Van Halen died at age 65 following a battle with cancer on Tuesday (Oct. 6). His son, Wolfgang, shared the news on Twitter.
“He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift,” the 29-year-old wrote.
— Wolf Van Halen 🐺 🚐 🙌 (@WolfVanHalen) October 6, 2020
The bandleader was diagnosed with tongue cancer in 2000, though he was declared cancer-free two years later. In recent months, however, Van Halen was reportedly battling throat cancer and flying to Germany for treatments.
Following the devastating news of his death, countless stars shared messages of mourning, remembering Van Halen as a friend, inspiration and “guitar hero.”
“I’m very sorry to hear of Eddie Van Halen’s passing,” singer/songwriter Willie Nile said in a statement to Billboard. “Electricity flowed through his fingers and deep into his soul and he lit up the universe with it. He could express musically what most of us don’t even dream of. That he shared it with all of us is his gift to us and we are all the better for it. Heaven will need to order more ear plugs. God bless Eddie!”
““I only met Eddie Van Halen once,” Colin Hay recalled to Billboard. “We shared a drink in the hallway of the Parker Meridian outside our adjacent rooms. He was effusive and most entertaining. A revolutionary musician, unique, inspired, effortless, a true master. It’s more than sad that he’s gone, but his licks will live forever.”
The Recording Academy also shared an official statement on the rocker’s death. “During his legendary career, Grammy Award winner Eddie Van Halen contributed to some of the world’s most iconic music. His explosive guitar playing and approach to the musical process solidified him as an undeniable force in his field and forever established his place as a true guitar hero. The world is lucky to have witnessed Eddie’s genius as a guitarist, and we know he will influence and shape rock music indefinitely.”
“Inductee Eddie Van Halen forever changed the vocabulary of the electric guitar,” mirrored Greg Harris, president & CEO of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in a press statement. “With blistering speed, control, and melodic feel, he perfected the art of shredding, unleashing two-handed finger tapping, dramatic whammy-bar moves, and other astonishing never-before-seen techniques. Innovative, like his hero Les Paul, Eddie reimagined the sonic possibilities of the guitar and became an inspiration for an entire generation of musicians who worshiped his sound and style. His band Van Halen kicked the American hard rock scene into high gear in the late Seventies, became rock heroes on MTV in the Eighties, and gave rise to a steady stream of shredders and trailblazers ever since.”
“The Warner Music family is devastated to hear the news of Eddie Van Halen’s passing, which is a heartbreaking loss for rock ‘n’ roll and the entire music community,” Kevin Gore, president of global catalog, recorded music for Warner Music Group, added. “Without question, he was one of the greatest guitar players to ever pick up the instrument. Eddie was also a gifted songwriter and inventor and will surely be remembered as one of the most influential and innovative figures in music history. After signing with then-Warner Bros. Records in 1977, Van Halen skyrocketed to international superstardom for years to follow, topping the charts in multiple decades and earning two RIAA Diamond certified albums (Van Halen, 1984), a feat accomplished by very few artists. Warner Music will continue to honor and preserve his incredible legacy and thank him for his extraordinary contributions to both music and our company’s history. Our deepest condolences go out to his son Wolfgang, brother Alex, and the rest of his family and friends, along with his millions of fans around the world.”
. @EddieVanHalen was one of the nicest guys I ever worked with and we shared so many laughs together. His influence on music and especially the guitar has been immeasurable. He was an absolute legend. Eddie, I’ll see you on the other side, my friend. Love, Ozzy.
— Ozzy Osbourne (@OzzyOsbourne) October 6, 2020
My heart is broken. Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul. Rest in peace, Eddie! …Eddie Van Halen Dead at 65 from Cancer https://t.co/gITtcndQVv
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) October 6, 2020
Eddie’s collaboration with Michael on Beat It for the album Thriller produced one of the most memorable guitar solos ever recorded, building to an exhilarating crescendo that still excites listeners nearly four decades later. Our thoughts are with Eddie’s family and friends. pic.twitter.com/yK8XdkaIcZ
— Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) October 7, 2020
We are saddened to learn of the passing of Eddie Van Halen. Eddie was a rock legend, one of the most exciting and creative artists to ever pick up an electric guitar and whose work inspired generations of young musicians. pic.twitter.com/5bEKGg7Uba
— Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) October 7, 2020
— William Patrick Corgan (@Billy) October 6, 2020
Legendary guitar and musical innovator Edward Van Halen. 1955-2020. Heaven will be electric tonight. pic.twitter.com/hdLd7atI74
— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) October 6, 2020
— 😷💉 Valerie Bertinelli (@Wolfiesmom) October 6, 2020
RIP Eddie Van Halen, dead today from cancer at 65. He was hilarious, mercurial, brilliant, and had the most beautiful relaxed expression as his fingers flew over the fretboard. He rarely guested for others, so I am priviledged that he played on my album ‘Astronauts and Heretics.’
— Thomas Dolby (@ThomasDolby) October 6, 2020
Guitar Hero is an understatement. Van Halen forever man.
— B.R.O.theR. ?uestion (@questlove) October 6, 2020
— Bryan Adams (@bryanadams) October 6, 2020
Farewell GOAT. See you on the other side! ❤️💜💙 pic.twitter.com/Tvo7eI7hPr
— Tenacious D (@tenaciousd) October 6, 2020
Just heard the news of Eddie Van Halen’s passing ….. this hit me hard. pic.twitter.com/RMuyq7arjK
— Keith Urban (@KeithUrban) October 6, 2020
We are enormously saddened to hear about the untimely passing of Eddie Van Halen. We considered him an inspiration, an idol, and after spending a summer together on the road in '88, a friend. Sending love to Alex, @wolfvanhalen & everyone in the greater VH family.
— Metallica (@Metallica) October 6, 2020
We're saddened to hear of Eddie Van Halen's untimely passing today. Given the news today, we want to dedicate our album Van Weezer to Eddie as a thank you for all the incredible music that soundtracked our youth and inspired the record. RIP EVH. pic.twitter.com/plb9WIuo64
— weezer (@Weezer) October 6, 2020
rest in peace #eddyvanhalen ! it was so fun being on tour with you and my brothers band. you were always kind to me❤️⚡️🎸
— christina perri (@christinaperri) October 7, 2020
Very few people actually reinvent the way people play an instrument. Thank you, Eddie for your style, your talent and your humor. RIP pic.twitter.com/BukccPXLQb
— Rob Thomas (@ThisIsRobThomas) October 6, 2020
Eddie Van Halen Dead at 65 https://t.co/FmZFZvMD3W
— Chris Rock (@chrisrock) October 6, 2020
Rock and roll lost a great man today. Eddie Van Halen, your guitar was legendary, and your music will live on forever.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) October 6, 2020
— Fred Sablan (@Fredsablan) October 6, 2020
Absolutely heart broken. Goodbye to the best there ever was and ever will be. RIP Eddie Van Halen pic.twitter.com/dZT693yvrO
— Todd Dammit Kerns (@todddammitkerns) October 6, 2020
— Dane Cook (@DaneCook) October 6, 2020
I am in complete and utter shock over the news of Edward Van Halen’s passing…Very few musicians ever come along that change the entire landscape of their instrument and King Edward was one of those few. One of the G.O.A.T! #RIPEVH #RIPEdwardVanHalen 😢😢😢 pic.twitter.com/1uuMLt1cvv
— Mike Portnoy 🤘 (@MikePortnoy) October 6, 2020
RIP Eddie Van Halen, you were definitely a pioneer on the guitar. Rest easy.
— Ryan Seaman (@ryanseaman) October 6, 2020
Yesterday @amandashires and I were singing our heavy song and cameras were rolling and I could tell she was feeling some emotions, so I very poorly played a little bit of Eruption to make her smile and it worked. No musician ever brought me more joy than #EddieVanHalen. Grateful.
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) October 6, 2020
So happy to know he was such a great father to you, Wolf. When I was a kid, I literally worshipped the man. Honestly, I don’t think that I ever stopped. https://t.co/Zmj2CsK8oM
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) October 6, 2020
Virtuoso guitar God, @eddievanhalen…
Rest in Power, brother!
— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) 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
Rest In Peace to the great Eddie Van Halen 😔🕊🙏🏾🎶🎸. My condolences to his family, friends and all who rocked with him as he rocked us. https://t.co/0WbhooxLqj
— JODY WATLEY (@jodywatley) October 6, 2020
Guitars are gently weeping everywhere. Shred In Power Eddie Van Halen.🎸💔
— Diane Warren (@Diane_Warren) October 6, 2020
— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) October 6, 2020
Sad to hear Eddie Van Halen has passed away. A guitar innovator with a fierce spirit of musical and technical exploration. Prayers and thoughts with his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/TI4ipeIXbR
— Yusuf / Cat Stevens (@YusufCatStevens) October 6, 2020
Eddie Van Halen 🎸 Rest in Rock.
— Garbage (@garbage) October 6, 2020
Eddie Van Halen and Neil Peart were just too good for 2020.
We all are
My heart is broken
— Sebastian Bach (@sebastianbach) October 6, 2020
Of all the guitarists I got to play with, he was my favorite. RIP Eddie Van Halen
— Paul Shaffer (@paulshaffer) October 6, 2020
I am devastated at the news of the passing of my friend Eddie Van Halen. pic.twitter.com/hUyIdKXsdG
— Kenny Chesney (@kennychesney) October 6, 2020
Super sad to hear about the passing of Eddie Van Halen. He was a big influence on Chris & me as we were writing Bill & Ted. In fact, when director Stephen Herek was reading the script he got 3 pages in, stopped, put on 1984 & resumed. We wanted the movie to be a cinematic “Jump.” pic.twitter.com/B2oTnDMWdH
— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) October 6, 2020
Two of the best hours of my life were spent chatting with Eddie Van Halen. A great musician, yes – also a funny and lovely guy who will be missed terribly. Sending love to Janie, Wolf, Alex & all those who loved him.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) October 6, 2020
RIP Eddie Van Halen. Van Halen were a tremendous influence on both Vinnie & Dime & Pantera. Hopefully they are all rocking out together now! pic.twitter.com/XtnL33aGsd
— Pantera (@Pantera) October 6, 2020
— Travis Tritt (@Travistritt) October 6, 2020
Crushed. So fucking crushed. RIP Eddie Van Halen. You changed our world. You were the Mozart of rock guitar. Travel safe rockstar.
— 📷 (@NikkiSixx) October 6, 2020
These videos made me so happy growing up. Cool dudes.. pretty girls.. amazing music.. it made me feel alive. I can’t thank Eddie Van Halen enough for all the incredible music. Wow. Sad day but this music and the memories are making me smile. pic.twitter.com/b0PmLBuqJV
— Dane Cook (@DaneCook) October 6, 2020
Articles keep referring to Eddie Van Halen as ‘guitarist’ and that word just doesn’t feel like it’s enough to me. Whether you liked his band or not he was at the very least a legend.
— Seán Ono Lennon (@seanonolennon) October 7, 2020
RIP to the GREAT @eddievanhalen. Even though it took a couple calls to convince U it was actually me on the phone 🙂 U killed it on Thriller, & your classic 🎸solo on Beat It will never be matched. I’ll always smile when I think of our time working together. Eternal ❤️ & props.
— Quincy Jones (@QuincyDJones) October 7, 2020
Whether you were blessed to have known him or not, He was a kind and gentle soul… His impact on ALL our lives was immeasurable! His music, eternal! My deepest sympathies to the Van Halen family… Love you Ed #LongLiveTheKing!
— Gary Cherone (@garycherone) October 6, 2020
Oh NO! Speechless. A trailblazer and someone who always gave everything to his music. A good soul. I remember first seeing him playing at the Starwood in 1976 and he WAS Eddie Van Halen. So shocked and sad. My condolences to Wolfie and the family. https://t.co/ExAWzFAEYJ
— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) October 6, 2020
There have been many big losses in the music world but few that just stop you in your tracks, leave you speechless and basically unable to function #RIPEddieVanHalen
— Alex Skolnick (@AlexSkolnick) October 6, 2020
Another one of our outstanding brother's Mr. Edward Van Halen; Jan. 26, 1955 – Oct. 6, 2020) Changed frequencies & went on to that Spirit in the Sky. (SEND UP UR PRAYERS & LOVE VIBES FOR HIS FAMILY & FRIENDS)! Thxs for ur lesson's. Bootsy baby!!!🤩 @eddievanhalen @StevieSalas pic.twitter.com/QqWLHVgC6v
— Bootsy Collins (@Bootsy_Collins) October 6, 2020
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
— Pearl Jam (@PearlJam) October 6, 2020
Rest In Peace Edward Van Halen. https://t.co/VdUACX5zJn
— Official Dio (@OfficialRJDio) 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
Feeling deep sadness and overwhelming appreciation.
The appreciation and love for him is bigger though.
Let’s take a minute and try to imagine our world if he never showed up.
Thank you King Edward. You are deeply loved and will be missed. pic.twitter.com/H1mS4sYZIo
— Steve Vai (@stevevai) October 6, 2020
— AC/DC (@acdc) October 7, 2020
https://t.co/QjAj45KED8 Apex talent. An unparalleled titan in the annals of rock n roll. One of the greatest musicians in the history of mankind. Rest In Peace, King Edward
— Tom Morello (@tmorello) October 6, 2020
Goodbye my dude, thank you for changing my ears forever https://t.co/XfdvKtehQN
— Weyes Blood (@WeyesBlood) October 6, 2020
"A man in his rightful place, so happy to be doing what he did." ~ Pete Townshend.
Eddie van Halen 1955-2020. Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/JOg0vn86An
— The Who (@TheWho) October 7, 2020
“Shocked to hear of the death of the great Eddie Van Halen. He was a consummate musician and an extraordinary virtuoso on the guitar. He leaves a giant footprint and an irreplaceable void.”
– Billy Joel