The death of Eddie Van Halen came as a terrible shock to the world, and now a new report says that "nobody knew" his cancer was so severe. On Tuesday, news emerged that the 65-year-old guitarist had died, with his son Wolfgang later confirming. Now, sources have told PEOPLE that it was over the few days before his passing that his health was in such "rapid decline."
The first insider went on to explain, "During the quarantine, everyone around Eddie was even more cautious about his health and his family truly protected him. He had throat cancer for years but it spread — it was in all his organs." The insider then said, "The last three days it was a rapid decline. Sadly, the hard-partying lifestyle physically takes its toll on you eventually." A second source stated that while "everybody knew that he had cancer," even most of the people close to him had no knowledge that it was so widespread. "He's had it for years but nobody knew it was this serious."
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In a statement confirming the news, Wolfgang Van Halen 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."
One of the sources says that Wolfgang and his father had an incredibly "tight" relationship. "He and Wolfie were incredibly close," the source said, referring to Wolfgang by his family nickname. "It's a huge loss to his son in particular because they were so tight."
Van Halen's wife Janie Liszewski recently broke her silence on his death, writing in an Instagram post, "My heart and soul have been shattered into a million pieces. I never knew it was possible to cry so many tears or feel such incredible sadness. Our journey together has not always been an easy one but in the end and always we have a connection and love that will always be. Saying goodbye is the hardest thing I have ever had to do so instead I say so long, I will see you again soon in a place with no pain or sorrow. Please watch over Kody and I. We love you and miss you so very much."