Eddie Van Halen dies at 65 of cancer


Eddie Van Halen, the guitar virtuoso whose blinding speed, control and innovation propelled his band Van Halen into one of hard rock’s biggest groups, fuelled 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.

A person close to Van Halen’s family confirmed the rocker died Tuesday due to cancer. The person was not authorized to publicly release details in advance of an official announcement.

His son also confirmed his death and the cause on Twitter.

“I can’t believe I’m having to write this but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning,” Wolfgang Van Halen said in the tweet.

With his distinct solos, Eddie Van Halen fuelled 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 JumpPanama and Hot for Teacher.

Van Halen band members, from left, Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar, Alex Van Halen and Eddie Van Halen are seen in Los Angeles in January 1993. (Kevork Djansezian/The Associated Press)

Van Halen is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Rolling Stone magazine put Eddie Van Halen at No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.

Read more at CBC.ca