Eddie Van Halen, the all-American guitar hero who, with his namesake hard-rock band Van Halen, redefined the sound and possibilities of the electric guitar in the 1970s and ’80s, died on Tuesday at age 65. The cause was throat cancer.
His death was first reported by TMZ.
“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,” wrote his son Wolfgang Van Halenvia Twitter.
“He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift… I love you so much, Pop.”
Eddie Van Halen was an immigrant kid who emerged from Pasadena with an ear for hard-rock hooks and wild guitar flash in the Jimi Hendrix tradition.
His speed and innovations along the fretboard inspired a generation of imitators, as the band bearing his name rose to MTV stardom and multiplatinum sales over 10 consecutive albums.
In contrast to the shadowy gothic blues of Black Sabbath, or the pagan thunder of Led Zeppelin, the band Van Halen delivered muscular hard rock in Technicolor.