Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen lost his battle to cancer and has passed away at age 65, his son Wolf announced Tuesday afternoon on Twitter.
— Wolf Van Halen (@WolfVanHalen) October 6, 2020
Eddie, who led the rock band Van Halen through five decades and three lead singers, will be remembered as a guitar virtuoso who innovated the instrument perhaps more than any guitarist in history. In 2012, he was voted number one in a Guitar World magazine reader’s poll for “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”
Van Halen was born in the Netherlands and moved to America with his family in 1962.
Eddie and his brother Alex Van Halen formed a band in 1972. In 1974, the band changed its name to Van Halen, and Van Halen became a staple of the Los Angeles music scene during the mid-1970s, playing at well-known clubs like the Whisky a Go Go. In 1977, Warner Bros. Records offered the band a recording contract.
Upon its release, Van Halen reached No. 19 on the Billboard pop music charts, becoming one of rock’s most commercially successful debuts. It was highly regarded as both a heavy metal and hard rock album. By the early 1980s, Van Halen was one of the most successful rock acts of the time. The album 1984 went five-times platinum after a year of release. The lead single “Jump” became the band’s first and only No. 1 pop hit and garnered them a Grammy nomination.
The band won the 1992 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal for the album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. As of March 2019, the band is 20th on the RIAA list of best-selling artists in the United States; it has sold 56 million albums in the States and more than 80 million worldwide. Additionally, Van Halen has charted 13 number-one hits in the history of Billboard‘s Mainstream Rock chart. VH1 ranked the band seventh on a list of the top 100 hard rock artists of all time. In January 2007, Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He is survived by his wife Janie and his son Wolf.
Eddie was 65.