Guitarist Eddie Van Halen died Tuesday following a battle with cancer, his son said. He was 65.
Wolf Van Halen announced the death of his father, also the namesake of the band Van Halen, in a post on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.
“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.”
Eddie Van Halen was born in Nijmegen, Netherlands, on Jan. 26, 1955, and his family emigrated to Pasadena, Calif., eight years later.
He and his brother, drummer Alex, founded the band that would go on to become Van Halen in 1972, cementing a line-up with bassist Michael Anthony and singer David Lee Roth in 1974.
The band found success with 1979’s “Dance the Night Away” and their sixth album 1984 peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard albums chart behind the strength of hits such as “Jump,” “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher.”
Eddie Van Halen also contributed a guitar solo to “Beat It” on Michael Jackon’s Thriller the only album to top 1984 on the charts.
Roth eventually left Van Halen in 1985 to launch a solo career and was replaced by Sammy Hagar, but returned to the band briefly after Hagar departed in 1996, citing creative differences.
Hager wrote on Twitter Tuesday that he was “heartbroken and speechless,” hearing the news.
“My love to the family,” he wrote.
Gary Cherone eventually took over as the band’s frontman for their 1998 album Van Halen III but Roth and Hagar would both return at later points.
Wolf Van Halen also joined the band as a bassist in 2006.
The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.