Eddie Van Halen, the lead guitarist of iconic rock group Van Halen, has died, confirmed his son. He was 65. He died on Tuesday morning after a long battle with cancer, reports variety.com. Van Halen's son Wolf tweeted: "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 had founded Van Halen with his older brother, drummer Alex; the siblings were joined by vocalist David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony in the first recording line-up of the group. Roth posted a photo of himself beside his former bandmate, and wrote on Twitter: "What a long, great trip it's been."
His band were best known for their song "Jump", which got the top spot of the US charts in 1984. Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea tweeted that Van Halen had a "beautiful creative heart".
The guitarist and bandleader had been the subject of near-death rumours for many years, some due to his documented substance-abuse issues but most stemming from the news of tongue cancer in 2000 -- which caused doctors to remove a third of his tongue, though Van Halen was declared cancer-free two years later. In recent months, however, reports stated that he was battling throat cancer and flying to Germany for specialised treatments.
In recent months, after a protracted period out of sight that led to more rumours of ill-health, Van Halen made a determined attempt at a public profile. During October he was photographed at a McLaren auto dealership in Beverly Hills, and shortly after that he attended Tool's October concert in Los Angeles -- and even took a photo for a fan who didn't recognise him. In December, Van Halen posted holiday messages and celebrated the release of some new branded gear at this year's NAMM Show and, most recently, wished his son a 'happy birthday' on March 16. "I feel like a 60-year-old punk kid who plays guitar in a rock band, and I am so blessed and so honoured to be able to do that, making music," Van Halen said during a 2017 public interview at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, Van Halen was born on January 26, 1955, in the Netherlands. His father, Jan Van Halen, was a classically trained clarinettist, saxophonist, and pianist. "Music was a common thread throughout our lives ... ever since we were young," Van Halen said at the Smithsonian, adding, presciently, "We always liked things loud."
(With ANI inputs)