Eddie Van Halen, Van Halen Guitarist and Rock Icon, Dead at 65

Eddie Van Halen, legendary guitarist and one of the founders of Van Halen, has died. He was 65. According to TMZ, Van Halen died after a long battle with throat cancer. His wife Janie, son Wolfgang, and his brother Alex were reportedly by his side when he passed.

On Twitter, Van Halen's son addressed the news by issuing a heartfelt tribute to his father. In the post, which came alongside a photo of the guitarist during a happier time, Wolfgang wrote that his father lost a "long and arduous" battle with throat cancer on Tuesday morning. He continued to write that Van Halen was the "best father I could ever ask for" and that he will cherish every moment that they spent together. Wolfgang wrote that his heart is broken over the loss of his father and that he is not sure that he'll ever fully recover following this. He ended his message by writing, "I love you so much, Pop."

Sources told TMZ that Van Halen died on Tuesday at St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica. According to the publication, the guitarist has been battling cancer for over a decade. He has reportedly been in and out of the hospital numerous times over the past year. In November, he reportedly sought out treatment for intestinal issues and received a round of chemotherapy. Back in October, TMZ reported that Van Halen had been traveling back and forth between the United States and Germany to get treatment for his throat cancer. The musician was reportedly doing this quietly for years.

Van Halen believed that he developed cancer from a metal guitar pick that he used more than 20 years ago. Despite the fact that he was a heavy smoker, he believed that he developed the illness because he used to cradle the metal pick in his mouth. Van Halen was originally diagnosed with throat cancer over 20 years ago. Shortly after his diagnosis, doctors had to remove 1/3 of his tongue. Over the years amidst his battle with cancer, doctors would have to, at times, scrape cancer cells that had migrated down his throat. Apparently, over the last 72 hours, Van Halen's battle with cancer went downhill. Doctors reportedly discovered that the cancer had migrated to his brain as well as other organs. The legendary guitarist is survived by his wife, Janie, and his son, Wolfgang, who became a bassist for Van Halen in 2006.