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Rocker Eddie Van Halen dies at age 65

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 10/06/20, 06:35 pm

Eddie Van Halen, the guitar virtuoso whose dizzying solos made rock ’n’ roll fun again, has died of cancer. He was 65. His band, Van Halen, formed in 1974 with his brother, drummer Alex Van Halen, singer David Lee Roth, and bassist Michael Anthony. They released their first album in 1978 and dominated the rock scene for more than a decade after that, first with lead singer David Lee Roth and then Sammy Hagar. Van Halen’s best-known work includes the songs “Jump,” “Right Now,” and “Panama.” He also played the famous guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s 1982 single “Beat It.”

What was his life like? His family immigrated to California from Amsterdam when he was 7 years old. His parents loved music and excelled at it, but they barely scraped by with the money his mother made working as a maid. He traded his drum set for his brother’s guitar when they were young because the older Alex played drums well. Eddie got sober in 2008 but spent much of his career drunk, high, or both, saying he relied on cocaine and alcohol to get work done. He married twice. His wife, Janie Liszewski, and his son, Wolfgang Van Halen, who replaced the band’s bassist Michael Anthony in 2007, survive him.

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Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital's managing editor. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kansas. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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