Remembering musician Eddie Van Halen after his death

Photo+credit%3A+Ren+Rader

Photo credit: Ren Rader

illustration by Ren Rader

Eddie Van Halen — lead guitarist of iconic rock group Van Halen — passed away on Oct. 6 following complications with lung cancer according to a tweet from his son, Wolfgang.

“He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift,” Wolfgang Van Halen said.

Valerie Bertinelli, Van Halen’s first wife and Wolf’s mother, shared some sentimental words about Eddie in a tweet as well.

“Forty years ago, my life changed forever when I met you…I’m so grateful Wolfie and I were able to hold you in your last moments. I will see you in our next life my love,” Bertinelli said.

The post went viral, with nearly four-hundred thousand likes and thousands of replies and retweets from other musicians, celebrities and fans alike.

Van Halen’s namesake group released a slew of hits beginning in the late 1970s up until the 1990s including songs like “Running with the Devil,” “Unchained” and the band’s U.S. No. 1 single, “Jump.” This music unearthed a powerful culture of young rock and roll enthusiasts that has continued on to this day. Van Halen’s playing anchored the group through nearly four decades of platinum albums and sold-out tours. Eddie Van Halen was born to Eugenia Van Halen and Jan Van Halen—a clarinet, saxophone, and piano player—in Amsterdam on January 26, 1955. It was imminent that Eddie would grow up with a musical influence in his life.

Van Halen has rightfully been famed for his mesmerizing solos, musical versatility, innovative guitar technique, such as two-handed tapping, and re-invention of rock and roll. He was lauded by many for being an amazingly enthusiastic performer that stunned and enthralled audiences all over the world.

David Lee Roth, lead singer in Van Halen, spoke on Van Halen’s stage presence in an NPR interview, noting it as one that was intensely precise and heartfelt.

“Not just in terms of speed, but how he articulates the notes, his accuracy, his focus. There’s a whole lot of emotional content to the way that kid plays,” Roth said.

Van Halen learned to play piano when he was six, and jump started his passion for music ever since. In a 2017 interview with CNN, Eddie Van Halen noted how strong of a role that music played in his life, especially after graduating from high school towards an unconventional path.

“My whole life has been music. I could not imagine anything else. It really hit me when I graduated high school, you sign everybody’s yearbook and everybody asks you, ‘So what college are you going to?’ Uh… ‘Hey Al, I think we better stick to what we know,'” Van Halen said.

Ted Nugent, American singer, guitarist and long-time fan of Van Halen, left some lasting remarks on Facebook when notified of his death.

“Thank you Eddie for vitalizing, enriching, and stimulating our lives with your brilliance, gifts, and vision. Jam on my friend. Jam on,” said Nugent.

Right now is a time marked with more loss than many of us are geared to handle. The loss of Van Halen is one that is collective, visceral and long-lasting. During this time, and into the future, we must take care of one another and appreciate the richness and abundance of life, meaning, and happiness.

Van Halen’s presence on this Earth is one that will never part. There are millions of fans all over the world that will push towards a future of radical love for rock & roll, guitar wizardry and the lasting legacy that Van Halen worked tirelessly to provide throughout his lifetime.