Rock stars react to Eddie Van Halen’s death

News of the tragic loss of rock legend and guitar hero Eddie Van Halen has shocked the rock music world. The guitarist and songwriter of rock-band Van Halen died Oct. 6, 2020 following a lengthy battle with cancer, reported NPR. He was 65. Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang Van Halen, broke the news on Twitter: “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 was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift.”

Eddie Van Halen’s contributions to music go far beyond his prime with Van Halen in the 1970s and ’80s. He is also credited as the guitar soloist on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” among  many other accomplishments. The guitar hero’s contributions to all music genres has prompted musicians around the world, especially rock stars, to publicly express tribute messages as they mourn the loss of Eddie Van Halen.

Rock guitarists are devastated by Eddie Van Halen's death

Tommy Iommi (pictured left), lead guitarist and founding member of heavy metal band Black Sabbath, took to Twitter to share his grief. “I’m just devastated to hear the news of the passing of my dear friend Eddie Van Halen. He fought a long and hard battle with his cancer right to the very end.” Iommi shared the statement alongside a photo of the two rock pals. “Eddie was one of a very special kind of person, a really great friend. Rest In Peace my dear friend till we meet again.” 

News of Van Halen’s death took Kiss guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley (pictured right) by surprise. The musician tweeted that he was “speechless.” Stanley described Van Halen as “a trailblazer and someone who always gave everything to his music. A good soul. I remember first seeing him playing at the Starwood in 1976 and he WAS Eddie Van Halen. So shocked and sad. My condolences to [Van Halen’s son] Wolfie and the family.”

Tributes to Eddie Van Halen span generations & genres

Eddie Van Halen’s rock dominance makes his death one that rockers of all generations are taking to heart.

Steve Hackett (pictured left) of Genesis said he was “really sad to hear about the passing of Eddie Van Halen. A brilliant guitarist,” while The Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson said he felt “terrible” about the news. “Eddie was such a great guitarist and I remember how big Van Halen was, especially here in L.A. Love and Mercy to Eddie’s family & friends,” Wilson tweeted.

Tears for Fears founder Curt Smith (pictured left) said Van Halen inspired his own career. “I saw Van Halen support Black Sabbath and blow them away when I was 16. The next day I went out and bought their debut album & played it non stop for weeks. RIP Eddie,” he wrote.

Country singer Kenny Chesney (pictured right) shared photos of the two musicians and called his friend the “best guitar player that’s ever lived.” Countless others in the music world, including Gene Simmons, Nikki Sixx, Billy Idol, Questlove, Tom Morello, The Goo Goo Dolls, Keith Urban, Nickelback, and more shared their love for Van Halen on social media.

Fellow rocker says Eddie Van Halen is 'playing lead' guitar in heaven

Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Michael Balzary (aka “Flea”) expressed his love to the Van Halen family via an Instagram post. “Oh man. Damn. I love you Eddie Van Halen. A true rocker, a deep musician, a HUGE heart, an LA boy through and through. A bold innovator and the undisputed king of all wheedlers. What a sound!!! I hope you jam with Jimi tonight and soar freely through the cosmos. A vibrant part of music has left this earth. Broken through to the other side. What a sweetheart, my brother. All love and condolences to your family,” Flea said.

Black Veil Brides drummer Christian Coma also tweeted a tribute to his guitar hero: “RIP to Eddie Van Halen. He was an absolute legend that influenced so many musicians and used his gift to create hit after hit. You will be missed, but your memory and art will live on!”

Perhaps Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton put it best when he tweeted: “There’s a huge band somewhere in Heaven and I think I know who’s playing lead.”

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