AC/DC‘s Angus Young has paid tribute to Eddie Van Halen, who died on Tuesday (October 6) at the age of 65. The legendary VAN HALEN guitarist’s death was confirmed by his son, VAN HALEN bassist Wolfgang Van Halen.
Angus said in a statement: “Eddie was a guitar wonder, his playing pure wizardry. To the world of music he was a special gift. To those of us fortunate enough to have met him, a very special person. He leaves a big hole in a lot of hearts. To the Van Halen family my heartfelt sympathies.”
In Neil Zlozower’s photo book, simply titled “Eddie Van Halen”, Angus stated about Eddie: “AC/DC played on a bill with VAN HALEN back in 1978 or 1979 for a Bill Graham ‘Day On The Green’ show. I didn’t know much about VAN HALEN then except that I remember seeing film clips of them, especially the one of Eddie playing the solo piece, ‘Eruption’, and I was very impressed. I didn’t meet Eddie until years later when there was a Monsters Of Rock open-air festival in England. I was shocked to hear he liked my playing, because I’ve never rated myself as a guitarist.
“Eddie is an innovator. When I grew up we had a lot of guys from England who were great players, like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. And then, of course, when Jimi Hendrix came along, he changed the game. I’d put Eddie in that category of being an innovator like Hendrix. He changed the game for his style of playing. When Eddie came along, he spawned so many imitators. Like Hendrix, suddenly you started to see people wanting to buy the same guitars he played and also play his licks. He turned the rule book upside down in terms of his approach. There was a lot of experimentation to his playing. Eddie also crosses into that avant-garde thing, which puts him in the same category as Hendrix.
“‘Eruption’ is a favorite track. He’s got everything characteristic of his playing in that song — there’s a bit of everything.
“When Jimi Hendrix came along it was like, ‘Where did this guy come from?’, and I think that was the same feeling with Eddie. When Eddie appeared on the scene, every guitarist I ran into said, ‘You’ve gotta hear this guy!'”
According to TMZ, Eddie died at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. His wife, Janie, was by his side, along with Wolfgang, and Alex, Eddie‘s brother and VAN HALEN drummer.
The site reports that Eddie‘s ongoing health battle went massively downhill in the last 72 hours, with doctors discovering his cancer had moved to his brain as well as other organs.
There have been a lot of rumors regarding the VAN HALEN guitarist’s supposedly worsening health, with TMZ reporting recently that Van Halen has been traveling between the U.S. and Germany for cancer treatment going on several years now.
Last November, TMZ reported that Eddie spent several days in a hospital due to complications from his cancer treatment. Sources close to the legendary guitarist told the site he was admitted to the hospital with intestinal issues and abdominal pain, both the result of a bad reaction to the drugs Eddie was reportedly taking to battle throat cancer.