Eddie Van Halen, the self-taught guitar-powerhouse of Van Halen who influenced generations of players with his legendary licks, passed away today. He was 65 and had battled throat cancer alongside other health issues since 2000.
His son and bandmate, Wolfgang Van Halen, announced the news on Instagram saying, “Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift. My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss.. I love you so much, Pop”.
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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. My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss. I love you so much, Pop.
The rock icon was famous for perfecting the technique of two-hand tapping on the guitar neck, an approach adopted by guitar players around the world. Besides being in Van Halen, his ripping guitar solo can be heard on Michael Jackson’s hit song, ‘Beat It’.
Ever since news of his passing was announced, a plethora of rock-fans have taken to social media to share their sentiments and mourn the loss of Eddie. One that caught our eyes was from a Malaysian fan who brought up the fact that Eddie’s mother is an Indonesian of Java descent.
Take a look:
— Kudsia Kahar 🇲🇾, Malaysian First (@Kudsia_Kahar) October 7, 2020
According to Brilio, Eddie always mentioned that his mother had Indonesian blood. His Swedish father, Jan Van Halen (1920-1986) was a saxophonist while his mother Eugenia van Beers (1914-2005) was of Java-descent and was born in Rangkasbitung, Banten.
Speaking on how his parents met, Eddie said that his father originally came to Indonesia as a musician and got a contract to play there for six weeks. However, fate had it differently when his father fell head over heels for Eugenia who also had a love for music. They dated, got married and lived in Indonesia for six years after.
The family only moved to California in 1962 when Eddie was seven year’s old. Both parents encouraged Eddie and his brother, Alex, at a very young age to pick up an instrument. Skip to 1974, the band Van Halen was formed by the two brothers, vocalist David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony.
It was their mother who encouraged them the most to pursue music full-time and now, it seems like Van Halen’s legacy will live on forever.
The band is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time and was inducted into the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ in 2007. Rolling Stone magazine put Eddie at No. 8 on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists.
With that, let’s celebrate Eddie’s life with this song and a cold one!