Tributes pour in for ‘Mozart of rock guitar’ Eddie Van Halen

Tributes have flooded in for the “Mozart of rock guitar” Eddie Van Halen following his death at the age of 65.

The revered guitarist and co-founder of influential group Van Halen died on Tuesday following a battle with throat cancer.

His son, Van Halen bassist Wolfgang, announced the news with a statement on social media.

He said:  “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.”

Wolfgang added: “I love you so much, Pop.” Following the announcement of Van Halen’s death, tributes poured in from across the entertainment industry.

Sammy Hagar, a former Van Halen frontman who departed the band under acrimonious circumstances, shared a picture of him and the guitarist together.

He said: “Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family.”

Nikki Sixx, co-founder of the rock band Motley Crue, described himself as “crushed” by the news.

He said: “RIP Eddie Van Halen. You changed our world. You were the Mozart of rock guitar. Travel safe rockstar.”

Kiss Singer Gene Simmons paid tribute to a “guitar god”.

He tweeted: “My heart is broken. Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul. Rest in peace, Eddie!”

Lenny Kravitz said Van Halen was “legendary” and a “musical innovator”.

“Heaven will be electric tonight,” he added.

British singer Billy Idol tweeted: “Rest in peace guitar legend Eddie Van Halen.   We will miss you.”

Black Sabbath co-founder Geezer Butler said Van Halen was a “true gent and a true genius”. He said: “Just when I thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse, I hear Eddie Van Halen has passed. So shocking- One of the nicest, down to Earth men I have ever met and toured with. A true gent and true genius. RIP.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea said: “Oh man, bless his beautiful creative heart. I love you Eddie Van Halen, an LA boy, a true rocker. I hope you jam with Jimi tonight. Break through to the other side my brother.”

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill sent his condolences to Wolfgang, adding: “But take solace in knowing that he will be long remembered and live on forever as one of Rock’s most extraordinary guitar virtuosos.”

Valerie Bertinelli, Van Halen’s first wife, posted a row of broken heart emojis in response to her son Wolfgang’s tribute.

Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel said “two of the best hours of my life were spent chatting with Eddie Van Halen”.

He added: “A great musician, yes – also a funny and lovely guy who will be missed terribly. Sending love to Janie, Wolf, Alex & all those who loved him.”