Eddie Van Halen's Cancer Battle: What to Know

Eddie Van Halen lost his long battle with throat cancer on Tuesday at the age of 65. Van Halen was one of the most iconic guitarists of his time and one of the founders of the rock band in the mid-1970s.

Over the years, Van Halen has struggled with medical issues. Before his cancer diagnosis two decades ago, the father of Wolfgang, who plays bass for the band, needed hip replacement surgery in 1999 after previously being diagnosed with chronic avascular necrosis. A year later, he had part of his tongue removed due to cancer. In 2002, he was determined to be cancer-free until he was diagnosed with throat cancer in the mid-2010s, first revealing so in 2019. In between all of that, Van Halen admitted he had struggled with alcohol and drug abuse from a young age, entering rehab in 2007.

In 2001 when it was revealed that the Netherlands-born rocker was diagnosed with cancer, Van Halen wrote on the band's website that he was sorry for having "waited so long" to come out and address the rumors after they began circulating earlier in the year. "Although it's hard to say when, there's a good chance I will be cancer free in the near future," he said at the time. He also wrote that at the time he felt as healthy as ever.


In sharing the news of his father's passing on Tuesday, Wolfgang noted that he "lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning." He described him as the "best father I could ever ask for" and that he appreciated all of the moments the two shared on and off stage. The youngest member of Van Halen joined the band in 2006. He replaced Michael Anthony as bassist after Anthony spent nearly three decades with the band. One of his first times out on the road with the iconic rock band was during their 2007-08 world tour. He also had a big role in producing their 2012 album, "A Different Kind of Truth." The two certainly had more than the typical father-son relationship, "My heart is broken and I don't think I'll ever fully recover from this loss."