'Nobody Knew' Eddie Van Halen's Cancer Was So Serious — His Family 'Truly Protected Him': Sources
"The last three days it was a rapid decline," an insider tells PEOPLE
Eddie Van Halen's health was in "rapid decline" over the last few days after suffering from cancer for years, sources tell PEOPLE.
"During the quarantine, everyone around Eddie was even more cautious about his health and his family truly protected him," the source says. "He had throat cancer for years but it spread — it was in all his organs."
"The last three days it was a rapid decline," the source adds. “Sadly, the hard-partying lifestyle physically takes its toll on you eventually."
Another insider tells PEOPLE that while "everybody knew that he had cancer," many close to Van Halen were unaware of the extent of his illness.
"He's had it for years but nobody knew it was this serious," the second source says.
Van Halen's death will hit his 29-year-old son Wolf especially hard since the two were "so tight," the insider adds.
“He and Wolfie were incredibly close," the source says, referring to Wolf by his family nickname. "It's a huge loss to his son in particular because they were so tight."
Wolf, who joined Van Halen as the band's bassist in 2006, shared the sad news on social media. He wrote that his "heart is broken" after the death of his father.
"I don't think I'll ever fully recover from this loss," he wrote. "I love you so much, Pop."
Wolf, Wolf's mother and Van Halen's ex-wife of 20 years Valerie Bertinelli and his current wife Janie Liszewski were at the hospital with the rocker when he died.
Before his battle with throat cancer, Van Halen had a bout with tongue cancer in 2000. He defeated the illness in 2002.
"He changed music. He changed the perception of the electric guitar," Lenny Kravitz told PEOPLE of Van Halen Tuesday afternoon. "He did things with the electric guitar that no one did — he is a pioneer and I mean, the music so incredible."
- Queen Latifah Honors Late Mom, Shines a Light the Lung Disease That Took Her in New Documentary
- Young + Pregnant Star Ashley Jones Joins Cast of Teen Mom 2
- The Home Edit's Clea and Joanna Share How to Survive (and Thrive!) in This Weird Holiday Season
- Drew Sidora Talks Joining RHOA and Cynthia Bailey's 'Epic' Bachelorette Party: 'We Had a Ball'