Born in Amsterdam and then moving to Pasadena in the 60’s, Eddie and his older brother Alex formed the early bands which then, eventually became Van Halen in the 70’s. The band had lead singer David Lee Roth and bass player Michael Anthony.
Eddie's explosive guitar solos rose to fame and the legend became a staple of the famed Sunset Strip music scene in Los Angeles. Then, they released their debut album in 1978, and it peaked at no.19 on the Billboard charts, becoming one of the most successful debuts of the decade.
It was Eddie’s first step, before the many he then took to become one of the biggest rock acts of the late 70’s and the early 80’s, with hits like ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love’, ‘Jump’, ‘Panama’ and ‘Hot for Teacher’.
His undeniable talent earned him a place along the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin as one of rock’s top guitarists. In 2012, he was even voted as the greatest guitar player of all time by Guitar World Magazine.
In 1984 though, lead singer Roth split from the band and was replaced for a decade by Sammy Hagar.
In Eddie's personal life, he underwent hip surgery in 1999 and had part of his tongue removed in 2000, after being diagnosed with lung cancer, likely because of the heavy smoking habit he had.
. @EddieVanHalen was one of the nicest guys I ever worked with and we shared so many laughs together. His influence on music and especially the guitar has been immeasurable. He was an absolute legend. Eddie, I’ll see you on the other side, my friend. Love, Ozzy.
Few guitarists have made an impact like @eddievanhalen. His enthusiasm for new sounds & his knack for engineering resulted in an iconic tone. We are deeply saddened by his passing, he was an important member of the Fender family, and we are keeping his family in our thoughts. pic.twitter.com/qbvGQ4NUBG
After 16 years of marriage to first wife, TV actress Valerie Bertinelli, his drug abuse and heavy drinking got the best of their marriage and he split from her in 2007.
"I was an alcoholic, and I needed alcohol to function. I didn't drink to party. Alcohol and cocaine were private things to me. I would use them for work. The blow keeps you awake and the alcohol lowers your inhibitions. I'm sure there were musical things I would not have attempted were I not in that mental state.", he said in a 2015 interview with Billboard magazine.
Eddie Van Halen is survived by his second wife Janie Liszewski and his son.