Eddie Van Halen passed away back in October, but he left behind his son and band-mate Wolfgang Van Halen to carry on his legacy. Many fans look to the young bassist for hope and inspiration as they grieve his father. Wolfgang was the first to confirm news of his father's death in a heartfelt message on social media.
Wolfgang Van Halen was born on March 16, 1991 — the only son of Eddie Van Halen and his first wife, actress Valerie Bertinelli. Wolfgang was named after classical music composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and he has taken to the music industry just like his father. He is the current bass player for Van Halen and previously played bass for the heavy metal band Tremonti. Wolfgang also played on Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery's 2019 solo album God Bless the Renegades.
Wolfgang's impact on the music industry could be felt long before he picked up an instrument himself, however. His father dedicated the instrumental "316" to him, titling it for his birthday. He also created a line of guitars with Peavey in the 1990s and early-2000s called the "Wolfgang Series." Wolfgang himself told Guitar World Magazine in 2012 that he didn't really understand that his father was famous until he "started picking up CDs and saw his father's [Eddie's] picture on them."
He did understand his love of music from the beginning, however. Wolfgang said that he watched his father, his uncle Alex and the rest of the band rehearse from an early age. He finally gravitated towards the drums as his first instrument, starting at the age of 9. Wolfgang reportedly accepted a few lessons from his uncle Alex to get started, then continued on a self-taught track.
Today, Wolfgang plays guitar and bass guitar as well, and is reportedly comfortable on the keyboard, as well. He officially joined Van Halen in 2006, at the age of 15. He traveled with the band on tours, performed to huge stadiums and then recorded his first album with them in 2010. Wolfgang even appeared in the video game Guitar Hero, alongside his father and uncle.
Wolfgang did not try to mute his grief when he announced that his father had passed away on Tuesday. He 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."
Eddie Van Halen is survived by Wolfgang, Alex and his wife, Janie Liszewski. He was 65 years old.