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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Rock royalty dead at 65

Legendary rock guitarist, Eddie Van Halen has lost his battle with mouth cancer at age 65.

The guitar virtuoso was a founding member of his namesake band, Van Halen, alongwith his drummer brother, and was widely recognised as one of rock music’s greatest guitar players.

His son, Wolf Van Halen, confirmed the sad news on social media.

“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,” he wrote.

“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 the loss.” 

“I love you so much, Pop.”

Eddie lost part of his tongue to the deadly cancer that eventually spread to his oesophagus in recent years.

Van Halen is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time, with his band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

He was also placed at #8 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 greatest guitarists list.

Rolling Stone was quick to publish a lengthy tribute to Eddie’s work, saying that if not for his “titanic influence”, hard rock after the late 1970s would have evolved in “unimaginably different ways”.

“He may not have invented two-handed tapping, but he perfected the practice and introduced it to a mass audience. Yet despite his complete mastery of the electric guitar, he never learned to read music,” said Rolling Stone.

“I don’t know shit about scales or music theory,” he told Rolling Stone in 1980.

“I don’t want to be seen as the fastest guitar in town, ready and willing to gun down the competition.

“All I know is that rock & roll guitar, like blues guitar, should be melody, speed, and taste, but more important, it should have emotion. I just want my guitar playing to make people feel something: happy, sad, even horny.”

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