Rock legend Eddie Van Halen dies after long battle with cancer

Eddie Van Halen, the guitar virtuoso whose group is considered one of the greatest rock bands of all time, died on Tuesday following a long battle with cancer, his son announced.

“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,” Wolf Van Halen wrote in a message on Twitter with a picture of the rocker who was 65.

“He was the best father I could ever ask for,” he added. “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.”

Born in the Netherlands and raised in California, Van Halen founded the rock group with his older brother Alex in the early 1970s and quickly earned a fan base.

He was famous for what became known as “finger tapping” — playing the guitar with two hands, like a piano.

He was also known for his guitars, including one named Frankenstein which he pieced together from part of other instruments.

Among the group’s classics are “Jump,” “Panama,” “Runnin’ with the Devil,” and the guitar solo “Eruption.”

“Ed’s a once- or twice-in-a-century kind of guy. There’s Hendrix and there’s Eddie Van Halen,” friend and guitarist Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains said during Grammy weekend in January 2019. “Those two guys tilted the world on its axis.”

Van Halen has sold more than 75 million albums and has more number one hits on the mainstream US rock chart than any other artist, according to the band’s label.

The group’s album “1984” was to be the band’s high point, giving them their only number one single “Jump.” (AFP | Jocelyne ZABLIT)

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