Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen has passed away, aged 65

“One of the greatest, most inventive, truly visionary musicians of all time.” The rock world is currently in mourning following the passing of guitarist Eddie Van Halen.

Legendary rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen has sadly passed away from a long battle with cancer. The guitarist’s son and Van Halen bassist, Wolfgang, broke the news on Twitter early this morning (Wednesday 7th). Tributes are currently pouring in from fans and peers worldwide.

The guitarist was best known for his founding role in the hugely successful band Van Halen and for his countless contributions to the industry, including the iconic solo in Michael Jackson’s Beat It. 

eddie van halen death
From left, Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth, and Eddie Van Halen. Photo: Larry Hulst/Getty Images

“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 stated, announcing his Father’s passing.

“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.”

Born in Amsterdam in 1955, Van Halen and brother Alex formed their namesake band in 1974, alongside bassist Michael Anthony and singer David Lee Roth. Bursting onto the charts with their 1978 self-titled debut album, the band went on to sell over 80 millions records worldwide and gain five multi-platinum albums.

Eddie Van Halen’s innovative and aerobic guitar solos characterised the resurgence of rock in the late ’70s, helping to knock disco off the charts and make space for gritter sounds. With Rolling Stone dubbing him as the eighth greatest guitarist in history, Van Halen currently stands as one of the best-selling artists of all time, renowned for tracks such as Jump, Panama, and Hot for Teacher.

Fellow guitarists and rock peers have paid their tributes to the late artist. “One of the greatest, most inventive, truly visionary musicians of all time,” Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello wrote. “An unparalleled titan in the annals of rock n roll.”

“Oh man. Damn. I love you Eddie Van Halen,” Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea posted. “A true rocker, a deep musician, a HUGE heart, an LA boy through and through. A bold innovator and the undisputed king of all wheedlers.”