Legendary Guitarist Eddie Van Halen Passes Away, Age 65

7 October 2020 | 9:36 am | Jessica Dale

"Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift."

Eddie Van Halen, widely regarded as one of music's greatest guitarists, has passed away at age 65, following a lengthy battle with cancer. 

The news was shared by Van Halen's son Wolfgang via a post to social media. 

"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," read the post. 

"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."

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Born in Amsterdam in 1955, Eddie Van Halen moved to California as a child, learning piano soon after. Best-known for his namesake band, Van Halen came to prominence with 1978's Van Halen alongside frontman David Lee Roth, bassist Michael Anthony and drummer (and brother) Alex Van Halen. 

The album featured tracks like Runnin' With The Devil, Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love and more, as well as the instrumental track Eruption; a demonstration of the guitarist's incredible ability and still a much revered piece of work. Van Halen found success around the globe, landing at #19 on the US charts, #17 on the Aus charts and #10 on the Dutch. 

The band followed up with Van Halen II the following year, with Women & Children First, Fair Warning and Diver Down released over the subsequent years. 

1984 saw the band reach their highest chart position to date and cemented their place in pop culture history with tracks like Jump, Panama and Hot For Teacher. The album would be the group's last with David Lee Roth until he briefly rejoined the group in 1996 and then again from 2007. 

They followed up two years later with 5150 in 1986, which gave them their first-ever #1 album and saw the introduction of new vocalist Sammy Hagar. They would claim #1 albums for their next three releases. 

In 2012, the group released their last studio album, A Different Kind Of Truth. This was Van Halen's first release since 1998's Van Halen III and saw Wolfgang Van Halen replace Michael Anthony on bass, as well as the return of Roth on vocals. 

Van Halen returned to Australia as part of the world tour, appearing on the Stone Music Festival line-up in Sydney (read the review here).

Tributes have began rolling in.