Guitar legend Eddie Van Halen dies at age 65

Eddie Van Halen, one of the most influential guitarists since Jimi Hendrix, and the lead and rhythm guitarist in the rock band Van Halen died on Oct. 6 after a long battle with cancer.

Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang Van Halen, announced his passing on Instagram and Twitter. 

“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 said on social media. 

Wolfgang replaced Michael Anthony in Van Halen as the bassist in 2006 and played by his father’s side for years. 

“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. I love you so much, Pop,” Wolfgang said at the end of his tribute. 

Musicians like Ozzy Osbourne, Steven Tyler, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Billy Idol, Brian May, original lead singer of Van Halen David Lee Roth and new lead singer Sammy Hagar sent their condolences to the family. 

Andrew Mook, Jupiter High’s head baseball coach and science teacher, has been a Van Halen fan since childhood and first heard Van Halen when he was in middle school. He came very close to attending one of their concerts. 

“I never got the chance to go to their concert, but I almost went to the one at Coral Sky Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach,” Mook said 

Van Halen’s hit songs include “Jump,” “Runnin’ With the Devil,” “Dance the Night Away,” “Hot for Teacher,” “Panama” and many more. 

“Ironically, ‘Hot for Teacher’ and ‘Right Now’ are my favorite songs,” Mook said. “We would play ‘Right Now’ when the players took the baseball field, and it got everyone pumped up.” 

Patrick Leary is another Van Halen fan. He first heard about Van Halen when his friend came back from a Black Sabbath concert, and Van Halen was the opening act. 

“After my friend came back from his Black Sabbath concert he told me that I should see this band that opened called Van Halen. He said that it blew Black Sabbath off the stage and that I should see the guitar player. Being a KISS fan, I thought Ace Freely was the man until I heard Eddie Van Halen,” Leary said. 

Leary soon heard his first Van Halen song on an eight track in his older brother’s car.

“The first song I heard was ‘Runnin’ With the Devil,’ and Eddie’s guitar playing was a sound I have never heard before,” Leary said.

Leary went to his first Van Halen concert in 1980, and then two other concerts in 1982 and 1984. 

“After my first Van Halen concert, my ears were ringing, but I remember every note,” Leary said. 

Van Halen was recognized as one of the top, innovative guitar players of all time, and the band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. 

“I consider Eddie Van Halen the Michael Jordan of guitar playing because he took it to another level,” Leary said.