Eddie Van Halen, guitarist and co-founder of the rock band Van Halen, has died after a long battle with throat cancer. He was 65.
Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang, confirmed the musician’s death on social media.
“He was the best father I could ever ask for,” he wrote in a Twitter post. “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. I love you so much, Pop.”
Van Halen had been battling cancer for over a decade. It had reportedly spread to his brain.
Throughout his career, Van Halen had a number of health issues, including a chronic joint problem that led to hip replacement surgery in 1999. He also had to have part of his tongue surgically removed in 2000 due to a bout of cancer. It is believed that his heavy smoking over the years led to his long battle with cancer.
He was born in the Netherlands, but raised in Pasadena, California.
The band Van Halen was formed in 1972 and featured Eddie Van Halen, his brother Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony until 1985. The band has become known for its energetic live shows and Eddie Van Halen’s guitar skills.
Van Halen showcased his prowess as a guitarist in the 1977 song “Eruption” during a nearly two-minute instrumental solo that featured his signature tapping skills.
The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.