Former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar has spoken about the death of the band's guitarist, Eddie Van Halen. Hagar took to Twitter to share a photo of himself and the Van Halen as a memorial to his late bandmate. He added that the news left him "heartbroken," as well as "speechless." Hagar then added, "My love to the family."
On Tuesday, TMZ reported that Van Halen died at the age of 65, after a fight with cancer. His son Wolf later confirmed the news in a social media post. "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." Wolf ended his statement by writing, "I love you so much, Pop."
Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family. pic.twitter.com/MQMueMF2XO— Sammy Hagar (@sammyhagar) October 6, 2020
Van Halen and his brother Alex founded the band, named for themselves, in the late '70s. They were soon joined by bassist Michael Anthony and singer David Lee Roth. The band really took off in the 1980s, with their album 1984 widely being considered one of the greatest rock albums of all-time. Eventually, the relationship between Roth and Van Halen grew volatile, leading Roth to quit the band. It was at this point that Hagar joined as the new Van Halen vocalist, from 1986 until 1995.
In 2016, Van Halen spoke with Chuck Klosterman for Billboard and opened up about his cancer diagnosis, saying that he had quit smoking when he had to have part of his tongue surgically removed due to cancer. The illness eventually reached his esophagus. While he agreed the smoking was likely the main cause of the cancer, he had another theory on what might have contributed.
"I used metal picks — they're brass and copper — which I always held in my mouth, in the exact place where I got the tongue cancer," he said. "Plus, I basically live in a recording studio that's filled with electromagnetic energy. So that's one theory. I mean, I was smoking and doing a lot of drugs and a lot of everything. But at the same time, my lungs are totally clear. This is just my own theory, but the doctors say it's possible."