Van Halen’s son Wolfgang, who became the band’s bassist when they reunited in 2007, broke the news on Twitter on Tuesday.
“I can’t believe I have to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, 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 shared with him on and off stage was a gift.
“My heart is broken and I don’t think I will ever fully recover from this loss.”
He added, “I love you so much, Pop. ”
Van Halen, born in 1955 in Amsterdam and raised in Pasadena, Calif., Formed the group with his brother Alex, bassist Michael Anthony, and singer David Lee Roth in 1974, after the group met while dating. Pasadena City College.
The band cut their teeth playing in clubs in West Hollywood before bursting onto the rock scene in 1978 with their self-titled debut album, which ultimately sold over 10 million copies as part of ‘a wave of hard rock that pushed disco to the top of the charts.
The group, one of the 20 best-selling artists of all time, then wept as they released multi-platinum albums five years in a row: Van Halen II (1979), Women and Children First (1980), Fair Warning (1981). ), Diver Down (1982) and finally their greatest success, 1984.
The album – surpassed in sales only by Michael Jackson’s Thriller – included the hits Jump, Panama and Hot for Teacher. Separated from the group, Eddie Van Halen also contributed to the signature riff of Jackson’s 1982 hit, Beat It.
Starting with a flamboyant solo on Eruption from their debut album, Eddie Van Halen’s distinctive acrobatic guitar playing fueled the group’s appeal, earning them a reputation as one of rock’s greats. all time.
Mike McCready of Pearl Jam told Rolling Stone that Van Halen’s game “sounds like it’s from another planet … [I]It was wonderful, like hearing Mozart for the first time. In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked him eighth best guitarist of all time, between Chuck Berry and Duane Allman.
Van Halen, a self-taught, classically trained pianist who could play most instruments but was unable to read music, also struggled with many health issues over the group’s decades.
Plagued with joint pain exacerbated by stage antics, he underwent hip replacement surgery in 1999 and partial removal of his tongue from cancer in 2000. Struggles with drug and alcohol addiction contributed to his divorce from TV star Valerie Bertinelli in 2007, the same year he began a stint in rehab, and reunited with Van Halen, with then 16-year-old Wolfgang on bass.
He is survived by his second wife, Janie Liszewski, former publicist of the group, whom he married in 2009, and Wolfgang.