Sammy Hagar Pays Tribute to Eddie Van Halen on Anniversary of His Death

Sammy Hagar has taken to social media to pay tribute to his former bandmate, Eddie Van Halen, on the anniversary of the late rock guitarist's death. In a post on Instagram, Hagar shared a photo of the two of them performing on stage, with Van Halen seen doing one of his famous jump kicks. "I can't believe it's been a year," Hagar wrote in the post's caption. "The man is gone but the music lives on [forever]."

Eddie Van Halen died on Oct. 6, at the age of 65, after a long battle with throat and lung cancer. He had been first diagnosed with tongue cancer as far back as 2000. Not long after his death, his ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli made mention of the having spread to his lungs. Van Halen was 65 years old at the time of his passing. Shortly after news of Van Halen's death was made public, Hagar took to Twitter to share a photo of the two of them together, as a memorial to his fallen friend. Hagar wrote that the tragic news left him "heartbroken," as well as "speechless." He added, "My love to the family."

Hagar initially joined Van Halen in 1985, amidst the exit of original singer David Lee Roth. He remained in the band until his own exit in 1996. He would go on to reunite with the band in 2004 for the Best of Both Worlds tour. Hagar and Van Halen had an often contentious relationship over the years, but just a few days after the guitarist's death, Halen revealed that they had reconciled "earlier this year." According to an October 2020 report from PEOPLE, Hagar recounted the meaningful experience in a letter he sent to Howard Stern. "I would love you to share that Eddie and I had been texting, and it's been a love fest since we started communicating earlier this year," Hagar wrote in the letter, which Stern read on his SiriusXM radio show.

The former Van Halen singer went on to say, "We both agreed not to tell anyone because of all the rumors it would stir up about a reunion, et cetera, and we both knew that wasn't going to happen. But he also didn't want anyone to know about his health." Hagar then added, "He stopped responding to me a month ago, and I figured it wasn't good. I reached out one more time last week and when he didn't respond, I figured it was a matter of time, but it came way too soon."