Eddie Van Halen has passed away at 65 from cancer

Eddie Van Halen, the incredibly talented lead guitarist for legendary band Van Halen, has passed away after a long battle with throat cancer. He was just 65 and is survived by his second wife of 11 years, Janie Liszewski, and his son Wolf, 29. Wolf announced the sad news on social media.

Here’s more on his passing, from People:

A source close to Van Halen told PEOPLE that the guitar hero had a rapid decline in health over the past three days and that the cancer had “spread to all his organs.”

His wife Janie Liszewski, son Wolf and ex-wife Bertinelli were at the hospital with Van Halen at the time of his death.

Earlier this year, his former bandmate David Lee Roth told Las Vegas-Review Journal that Van Halen was not doing well.

The iconic guitarist had battled throat cancer for more than 10 years, according to TMZ. He previously defeated tongue cancer in 2002 after a two-year battle.

[From People]

People is also reporting that Eddie’s family was careful to make sure he was protected during the pandemic. Many of his friends knew for years that he had cancer, but were not aware how serious it had become.

This is just so sad. 65 is much too young to die. I’ve been rocking out to his music since high school and before lock down I was going to local concerts by 80s cover bands. Jump, Panama, Runnin With the Devil, Hot for Teacher, Why Can’t This Be Love, are all amazing party ballads and staples of that era. Plus their covers of You Really Got Me and Pretty Woman are incredible. I’m so sorry to hear that we lost him and am thinking of his friends and family. Rock on in heaven, Eddie.

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photos credit: WENN

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44 Responses to “Eddie Van Halen has passed away at 65 from cancer”

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  1. HK9 says:

    One of the best guitar players ever. Sad to see him go.

  2. Esmom says:

    The tweets from Valerie and his son and DLR made me tear up. I wasn’t really a fan of Van Halen but as a teen in the 80s their music was inescapable. He was truly dealt a cruel hand by cancer. RIP.

    • Seraphina says:

      Agreed with all you said. RIP Eddie and I hope his family finds comfort.

    • Jules says:

      Yes to all this. An 80s icon. Don’t recognize him without all the long hair.

    • FHmom says:

      Valerie’s tweet and the accompanying photo were heartbreaking. Impish grin, indeed. Rest in peace, Eddie.

      • Lady2Lazy says:

        Truly inspiration! I remember it being such an enormous shock when he and Bertinelli were married. A good girl and a rock musician! An awesome artist and musician, such a powerhouse on stage! A sad day for fans, musicians and his very close knit “family”, (I am referring to those who were not related, but were considered so close as family.)
        RIP Van Halen! Your music lives on!

  3. grabbyhands says:

    This gave me the sads even though I wasn’t a huge Van Halen fan. Their early music was ubiquitous being a kid in the late seventies/early eighties and it makes me think of carefree, happy kid memories.

    65 is so damn young. I’m glad his family closed ranks around him so he could deal with this privately. I feel so awful for his kid – I hope it’s a comfort to see how many people loved him.

    I’ll remember him as the happy, dimpled, adorable guitarist who always seemed like he was living his best life.

  4. Mellie says:

    Huge Van Halen fan here and this hit me hard….. Eddie, John Prine….it’s been a year :(

  5. Becks1 says:

    What a tragedy, he was such an insanely talented guitar player. I’m another one who’s not a huge Van Halen fan, but my husband likes them a lot and so we spent a lot of last night playing some concert clips on youtube and even my 5 year old was entranced.

  6. Astrid says:

    sad news. I’ve been a VH fan since the beginning. VH was my first arena concert back in the day when VH was a warm up band for Black Sabbath. RIP


    You want to hear a kick ass EVH guitar solo, check out When Eagles Fly in Toronto (1995) on Youtube. Its a beautiful song anyway and when Eddie kicks in……..freakin goosebumps. I’m listening right now.

  8. Michelle says:

    Another reason why 2020 is the worst. It’s incredibly sad now to see these pictures of him smiling and so full of life, but I hope in time, it’s a source of comfort for his family. Wolfie sounds like he loved his father and I’m so happy that as a family, they enjoyed music together.

  9. Christin says:

    The 80s would not have been the same without those songs. I can put a couple of them to scenes from high school dances, etc.

    Valerie and Eddie were an adorable couple. They looked like brother and sister, actually. No doubt she, Wolf and Eddie’s wife are heartbroken. Truly a cruel hand that he apparently handled with grace.

    • H says:

      True story.

      I saw a taping of One Day At A Time back in the day and before the show, the cast came out and answered questions. Valerie and Eddie had just started dating and all the questions directed to her were by Van Halen fans. I was like 12 and still listening to Shaun Cassidy (god, I’m old), so I was like: “Who are these Van Halen people?”

      Thirty years later, I saw them in concert (Sammy was the singer). Eddie was perfection on the guitar. I hope him and Jimi are rocking out in heaven. RIP.

      • Christin says:

        What a great experience!

        Mentioning Shaun brings back memories of both Shaun and Andy Gibb posing for teen magazines in satin ball jackets.

    • Beatriz says:

      Yes, Valerie and Eddie did look like brother and sister! The same eyes and nose!

      They were an adorable couple.

    • L84Tea says:

      I have always thought that he and Valerie looked more like twins than spouses!

  10. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I shed a tear last night when I heard. He was my first rock-n-roll crush. First face to make it on my bulletin board in high school. All my notebooks proudly displayed the VH logo I so meticulously sketched during class. I thought he was beautiful, and he was lol. I thought he was so incredibly talented, and he was. I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard my first Van Halen notes of perfection…Eruption/You Really Got Me. O.M.G.

    • Miranda says:

      Eruption/You Really Got Me blew my 7-year-old mind. That was when I said to hell with piano lessons and demanded a guitar.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        Yasss, I gave up piano shortly thereafter as well. How funny! One hundred percent classical all the way, all the time. It was a grueling schedule, and I started to become interested in other things mainly tennis and dance and she forbade it. After Van Halen, that was it. I wanted freedom and cruising and parties.😁

  11. Lightpurple says:

    May he rest in peace and may his family find comfort in their memories.

    Eddie Van Halen also delivered that blistering guitar on Michael Jackson’s Beat It.

    • Jules says:

      Yes I just read that and didn’t realize that! RIP, so sad.

    • Sarah says:

      Good grief, I never knew that!

    • Beatriz says:

      He was also the person dressed up in the “space suit man” costume in Back to the Future when Marty’s ears are blistered with the guitar solo cassette marked “Edward Van Halen”. Eddie confirmed it around 2012ish, I think.

      He also took no money for his performance in Beat It, and didn’t get credited on the cut. I remember hearing him say something like it was no big deal for 20 minutes of my life.

      • Lady2Lazy says:

        I did not know that! How remarkable her was. His talent was endless as an artist and musician. My god it’s been a tough year for us musician fans.

  12. Miranda says:

    As a guitarist myself, Eddie was obviously a huge influence. I was one of those kids who would sit in their room for hours, trying to figure out that damn tapping technique, wondering how the hell anyone could ever get THAT good. But all my practice paid off a few years back. I was filling in with a friend’s cover band at a show at a glorified dive bar when I met my fiancé. Now he always tells people he knew I was The One when he heard me playing “Panama.” So in a way, I guess Eddie was kind of a matchmaker for me, and I have to thank him for that.

  13. Renee says:

    Van Halen’s music was a rite of passage for so many of us. I loved Eddie Van Halen. I was so sad yesterday when I learned he had died. It was so sad reading Valerie’s & Wolfie’s tributes to him. Rock in Peace Ed.

  14. ennie says:

    Loved watching their 80′s videos and their awesome rock.

  15. FHmom says:

    I remember a VH Rolling Stone piece that was written by a female writer. She noted that he held her arm or put his arm around her, something like that, to escort her wherever they were going to protect her from the crowd. I found that so incredibly polite and thought he must have been a truly nice guy. She thought so, too.

  16. LMB says:

    And he was originally from the Netherlands, our contribution to American rock’n roll.

  17. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    I just can’t. I saw them only one and it was incredible.
    Eddie Van Halen didn’t just PLAY guitar, he scorched the earth with it.
    Rest well Eddie V.

  18. Lyle says:

    i feel like someone hit me in the gut with a louisville slugger, what a shame. R.I.P to the master

  19. Beatriz says:

    I was lucky enough to see Van Halen in 1984 in Philly. And yes, I got to hear Eddie play Eruption solo LIVE. A pure performance of brilliance that literally gave me the chills. I wish I knew back then how lucky I was to have witnessed it. RIP EVH.

  20. Amando says:

    I didn’t even know he was sick. RIP Eddie!

  21. SJ Knows says:

    EVH and DLR were fantastic together in the their heyday.
    Ed = huge talent. DLR = Greatest frontman in rock at his peak.
    I was one of the VH fans who actually did ask people “Van Halen or Van Haggar, and be careful how you answer because this is important”

    Sammy was good. EVH was perfect. DLR was pure energy, let the good times roll frontman.