Guitarist Eddie Van Halen Dies at Age 65 in Santa Monica, California

Eddie Van Halen (SOURCE:
Eddie Van Halen (SOURCE:

Times have changed: Watch the official music video for “Hot For Teacher” by Van Halen (released October 27, 1984, included in the sixth studio album ‘1984’).

Guitar star Eddie Van Halen has died at age 65 on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 in Santa Monica. A person close to Van Halen’s family confirmed the Eddie Van Halen died Tuesday due to cancer withholding additional pending an official announcement. Eddie Van Halen married Valerie Bertinelli in 1981 and divorced in 2007. He married Janie Liszewski ​in 2009.

The rock band with his namesake, Van Halen, was formed in Pasadena, California in 1972. Van Halen consisted of Eddie Van Halen; Eddie’s brother, drummer Alex Van Halen; vocalist David Lee Roth; and bassist Michael Anthony from 1974 until 1985. Members have also included Wolfgang Van Halen (son with Valerie Bertinelli), Mark Stone, Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar, and Gary Cherone.

Top albums included debut album ‘Van Halen’ which includes “Runnin’s with the Devil”, “Eruption” and then the blockbuster album “1984,” which includes “Jump,” “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher.” Van Halen established themselves as the ultimate California party and glam metal band and are known for pushing 70’s disco off the top of the charts.

Eddie Van Halen (SOURCE:
Eddie Van Halen (SOURCE:

Eddie Van Halen is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Rolling Stone magazine put Eddie Van Halen at No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists; following Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, B.B. King, and Chuck Berry.

Van Halen also played guitar free of charge on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” — one of the biggest singles of the 1980s. His 20 second solo took only 30 minutes to record. He performed as a favor to producer Quincy Jones.

Van Halen recruited Sammy Hagar as lead singer after David Lee Roth left the band, and the band produced its first No. 1 album with “5150,” More studio albums followed, including “OU812,” “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” and “Balance.” Hit singles included “Why Can’t This Be Love” and “When It’s Love.”

Roth eventually returned in 2007, joining the Van Halen brothers and Wolfgang Van Halen.

Eddie Van Halen consumed vodka and snorted cocaine while working on music. In Sammy Hagar’s 2011 autobiography “Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock” he described Eddie Van Halen as a violent, booze-addled vampire, living inside a garbage-strewn house. Van Halen went to rehab in 2007, and had been sober since 2008.

❝ I didn’t drink to party. Alcohol and cocaine were private things to me. I would use them for work. The blow keeps you awake and the alcohol lowers your inhibitions. I’m sure there were musical things I would not have attempted were I not in that mental state.❞

— Eddie Van Halen interview (Billboard)

Van Halen lost one-third of his tongue to a cancer that eventually advanced to his esophagus. Van Halen began receiving treatment for tongue cancer in 2000. The subsequent surgery removed roughly a third of his tongue. He was declared cancer-free in 2002. He blamed the tongue cancer on his habit of holding guitar picks in his mouth. In an interview with British music website and former magazine NME (New Music Express), Eddie Van Halen said, “I used metal picks – they’re brass and copper – which I always held in my mouth, in the exact place where I got the tongue cancer. … I mean, I was smoking and doing a lot of drugs and a lot of everything. But at the same time, my lungs are totally clear. This is just my own theory, but the doctors say it’s possible.”

Eddie Van Halen was born in Amsterdam on January 26, 1955. His family immigrated to California in 1962 when he was 7. In an interview with Billboard magazine in 2015 he told writer Chuck Klosterman that he started drinking and smoking when he was 12, and got drunk before showing up to high school.

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Van Halen – Jump (Official Music Video).

Eruption (2015 Remaster) … Provided to YouTube by Rhino/Warner Records.

Van Halen – Runnin’ With The Devil (Official Music Video).

Van Halen – Panama (Official Music Video).

Van Halen 5150.

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