Tributes were paid to Eddie Van Halen, the revered guitarist and co-founder of rock band Van Halen, following his death at the age of 65.
Kiss frontman Gene Simmons remembered him as a “God of the Guitar,” while other stars compared him to a modern-day Mozart.
Longtime Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth posted a photo of himself alongside his former teammate, writing: “What a long and wonderful journey.“
The Dutch-American musician was receiving treatment for throat cancer.
His group was best known for their song Jump, which reached the top of the US charts in 1984.
His son Wolfgang paid tribute to him on social media, saying he was the best dad he could ever ask for.
“Every moment I shared with him on and off stage was a gift,” wrote Wolfgang, who became Van Halen’s bassist in 2006.
“My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss. I love you so much, Pop.”
The guitarist had been hospitalized and released from the hospital last year and had recently undergone chemotherapy, TMZ reported, citing sources.
Who paid tribute?
Queen guitarist Brian May recalled how “those truly magical fingers opened the door to a new kind of playing.”
He wrote on Instagram: “This wonderful man was far too young to be taken. What a talent – what a legacy – probably the most original and dazzling rock guitarist in history.”
Simmons tweeted: “My heart is broken. Eddie was not just a guitar god, but a truly beautiful soul. Rest in peace, Eddie!”
Also on Twitter, Red Hot Chili Peppers Flea bassist wrote that Van Halen had a “beautiful creative heart”.
Sammy Hagar, who replaced Roth as Van Halen’s frontman when he split from the group in 1984, shared a photo of himself alongside Van Halen, with the caption: “Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family. “
Geezer Butler, founding member of Black Sabbath, described Van Halen as a “true kind and true genius”.
“Just when I thought 2020 couldn’t be worse, I hear that Eddie Van Halen has passed away. So shocking – one of the nicest, down to earth men I have ever met and toured with, ” he wrote.
Rock band Pantera’s Twitter account tweeted that Van Halen had a “huge influence” on their music.
Their message said: “RIP Eddie Van Halen. Van Halen had a huge influence on both Vinnie & Dime & Pantera. Hopefully they all rock together now!”
“Heaven will be electric tonight,” wrote singer Lenny Kravitz, who remembered Van Halen as a “legendary guitarist and musical innovator”.
Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready compared him to Mozart, the latter saying he had “changed everything and played with the soul“.
How did Van Halen become famous?
Born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Van Halen was the son of Eugenia Van Halen and Jan Van Halen, clarinetist, saxophonist and pianist. The musical influence rubbed off on Van Halen, who learned to play the piano as a child.
When the family emigrated to Pasadena, California in 1962, they brought a piano on the boat.
“We actually played music on the boat on the way here, you know? I’m serious! It wasn’t like, ‘so what do you want to do with your life?’. Daddy? said, ‘We have to So without the music we wouldn’t have survived,’ Van Halen said in an interview with Esquire in 2012.
Growing up, Van Halen switched to drums and then guitar, first playing alongside his father and brother at weddings and bar mitzvahs.
As an adult, Van Halen formed Van Halen in the early 1970s in Los Angeles. He was the guitarist, his brother Alex was the drummer, David Lee Roth was the singer, and Michael Anthony was the bassist.
Van Halen was said to be the main songwriting force behind the group’s self-titled debut album, released in 1978. The album reached number 19 on the Billboard charts, becoming one of the most successful debuts of the band. decade.
But Van Halen’s greatest success came with their sixth album, 1984, which saw Van Halen focus on synths rather than guitars. He produced the group’s only number one single, Jump, and MTV’s favorite Hot For Teacher.
Jump was also the group’s biggest hit in the UK, reaching seventh place in 1984.
That aside, the guitarist was perhaps just as well known in the UK for playing the solo from Michael Jackson’s 1983 hit, Beat It.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, Van Halen received great acclaim for his signature guitar parts in the group’s many hits, from Ain’t Talkin ‘Bout Love in Panama.
He refined and popularized a style of play known as “two-handed tap”; and his lightning-fast technique influenced countless rock guitarists in the 1980s.
What do we know about his battle with cancer?
Van Halen had battled separate episodes of cancer for years.
He first confirmed he had cancer of the tongue in 2001, telling fans he would beat the disease. He received treatment and the surgery that followed removed about a third of his tongue.
He was declared cancer free in 2002. But TMZ reported last year that Van Halen had been battling throat cancer privately for five years, flying between the United States and Germany for radiation therapy.
Throughout his treatment, Van Halen continued to attend concerts and rehearse music with his son Wolfgang, TMZ said.
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