Valerie Bertinelli posted a touching tribute to her ex-husband, Eddie Van Halen, as news of his death spread on Tuesday. Van Halen passed away in a hospital after a prolonged battle with throat cancer, according to his family. Bertinelli made it clear she still counts herself among them.
In her tribute, the One Day at a Time actress shared a black-and-white photo with the musician and their son together, Wolfgang Van Halen. Alongside that image, she thanked Van Halen for changing her life and parenting Wolfgang with her. She also noted his illness, saying he kept his "gorgeous spirit" amid treatment. Bertinelli also revealed that she and Wolfgang were with him during his "last moments."
Bertinelli also shared a post by her son, who wrote: "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."
💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔— Valerie Bertinelli (@Wolfiesmom) October 6, 2020
Over on Twitter, Bertinelli commented on the same post with a string of broken heart emojis. The actress married Van Halen in April of 1981, after first meeting him at one of his concerts. They had Wolfgang in March of 1991 and spent another decade and a half together before separating. Their divorce was finalized in December of 2007.
Bertinelli later revealed in her autobiography that the main reason for her separation from Van Halen was his substance abuse addiction. She wrote that his cocaine problem came between them more and more, and she was also frustrated by his refusal to quit smoking. By then, Van Halen had already been diagnosed with oral cancer and had had part of his tongue amputated to remove it.
Van Halen began receiving treatments for oral cancer in 2000, and at the time, he was already suffering from several chronic illnesses. In a 2015 interview with Billboard, he revealed that he had begun smoking and drinking at age 12 and had developed severe chemical dependencies. He entered rehab in 2007 and claimed that he had been sober since 2008.
Van Halen also suffered from avascular necrosis due to his acrobatic on-stage antics, and later suffered from diverticulitis, as well. He was declared cancer-free in 2002 after his tongue operation, but like so many patients, the cancer resurfaced years later.
When Van Halen's condition worsened this weekend, doctors reportedly found that the cancer had spread from his throat to his brain and other organs, as well. He passed away at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California surrounded by Wolfgang, his wife Janie Liszewski and his brother, drummer Alex Van Halen. He was 65 years old.