On October 6, 2020, rock guitar legend Eddie Van Halen passed from this world onto the next. "I'm so grateful Wolfie and I were able to hold you in your last moments," writes ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli. "I will see you in our next life my love."
Eddie Van Halen passed away after a long and rigorous battle with cancer. His final moments were spent at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, surrounded by loved ones. Though Eddie is gone from this world, he leaves behind an incredible legacy and will be remembered by fans for decades to come.
Edward Lodewijk Van Halen (Dutch-American) formed the iconic Van Halen band in1972 with brother Alex Van Halen (drums), Mark Stone (bass), and David Lee Roth (vocals). He was the central, driving force in the group and was responsible for much of the songwriting that launched them into fame. In songs like "Eruption," Eddie popularized the now iconic guitar technique known as tapping and was voted #1 in a Guitar World magazine poll for "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
Eddie Van Halen was exposed to music from a very young age. His mother was a multi-instrumentalist, and Eddie learned to play the piano at just six years old. Surprisingly, however, according to a 2012 Esquire interview, he never actually learned how to read music. He simply used his ears and watched his instructor's fingers to learn songs. Van Halen's parents had hoped that he would grow up to be a classical musician, but clearly, Eddie had other ideas in mind.
Eddie and Alex formed their very first band when Eddie was in the fourth grade. They performed at lunchtime, and this early group (known as The Broken Combs) lit the musical fire inside of Eddie that later pushed him to pursue music full time.
Citing Eric Clapton as his primary guitar influence, Eddie learned almost every Cream solo "note for note." In taking this newfound rock knowledge to the next level, Eddie then formed Van Halen. By 1977, just five years after their founding, Warner Brothers offered the group a recording contract. Their debut, self-titled album, Van Halen went on to reach #19 on the Billboard music charts, and by 1992, Van Halen had secured themselves a Grammy Award for the album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.
In 2007, Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As of 2019, Van Halen had sold 56 million albums in the United States alone and 80 million albums worldwide. This made them #20 on the RIAA list of best-selling artists.
Eddie Van Halen's career was full of musical success, having also worked alongside other artists such as Michael Jackson, Gene Simmons, Brian May, Black Sabbath, Toto, and Frank Sinatra. He held three guitar patents and even worked on a few film soundtracks (including the movie Twister).
He passed away at age 65, but will never be forgotten by fans of his signature guitar work. He was beloved by many who knew him and is survived by his wife, Janie, and his son, Wolfgang.
"He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I've shared with him on and off stage was a gift." - Wolfgang Van Halen
Rest In Peace, Eddie. You will be missed.