Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen, the co-founder of rock band Van Halen, has died at 65 following a years-long battle with throat cancer.
Eddie Van Halen, the stunning guitar virtuoso whose blinding speed, control and innovation shot his band Van Halen into one of hard rock’s biggest groups, fueled the unmistakable fiery solo in Michael Jackson’s hit “Beat It” and became elevated to the status of rock god, has died. He was 65 years old.
A close friend of the Van Halen family confirmed the rocker died Tuesday due to cancer. The person was not authorized at the time to publicly release details in advance of an official announcement. “I can’t believe I’m having to write this,” his son Wolf Van Halen, who became Van Halen’s bassist in 2006, wrote on Twitter.
With his distinct solos, Eddie Van Halen fueled the ultimate California party band and helped knock disco off the charts starting in the late 1970s with his band’s self-titled debut album and then with the blockbuster record “1984,” which contains the classics “Jump,” “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher.”
Last November he was admitted for intestinal issues and he had chemo recently. The guitarist had been in and out of the hospital in the past year and recently underwent a round of chemotherapy. Throughout his treatment, Van Halen continued to attend concerts and rehearse music with his son, the website said.
Eddie smoked heavily for several years but it’s thought he developed throat cancer from a metal guitar pick he used to hold in his mouth more than 20 years ago.
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