John Mayer, Keith Urban and Lenny Kravitz Among Guitarists Mourning Eddie Van Halen: 'A True Virtuoso'
"Eddie Van Halen was a guitar superhero ... Looking up to him as a young kid was one of the driving forces in my needing to pick up a guitar," John Mayer wrote in his emotional tribute
Celebrities are mourning the tragic death of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen who succumbed to cancer on Tuesday. He was 65.
Van Halen's son Wolfgang, 29, confirmed his death with a statement on Twitter.
"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," Wolfang tweeted. "He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I've shared with him on and off stage was a gift."
"My heart is broken and I don't think I'll ever fully recover from this loss," he wrote. "I love you so much, Pop."
Wolf's mother Valerie Bertinelli, 60, replied to the heartbreaking news with a series of emojis.
Guitarist John Mayer shared an emotional post honoring Van Halen on his Instagram.
"Eddie Van Halen was a guitar superhero. A true virtuoso. A stunningly good musician and composer. Looking up to him as a young kid was one of the driving forces in my needing to pick up a guitar. I was so blown away watching him exert such control and expression over his instrument. Learning to play the guitar taught me so many things, but still absolutely nothing about how to play like Eddie Van Halen. And for that reason, I never stopped watching him in adolescent awe and wonder, and I promise you I never will. So very sad to learn of his passing. My love to his family, his bandmates, his friends and his crew. EVH FOREVER ♥️"
Country star Keith Urban, known for his own guitar prowess, mourned Van Halen on social media.
"Just heard the news of Eddie Van Halen’s passing ..... this hit me hard," he wrote. "There are lots of great guitar players in the world, but very VERY few true innovators. Players who seem to have arrived from a far distant planet, and who bring a completely new color to the rainbow. Eddie Van Halen was this and so much more. Even without the finger tapping, you had a player with extraordinary touch, tone, and a rhythmic pocket and bounce that floated like Ali in the ring. He was a master of complex solos that spoke to non musicians...THAT IS HARD TO DO. The reason was the exquisite melody in his heart, and the joy in his soul of playing FOR people - and it came through like a ray of sun we ALL felt. I say a prayer today for his family and friends. - and from players like me , all over the world who never got to meet him, I say THANK YOU EDDIE. WE LOVE YOU !!!!!!!"
Lenny Kravitz honored Van Halen writing, "Legendary guitar and musical innovator Edward Van Halen. 1955-2020. Heaven will be electric tonight."
Speaking to PEOPLE Tuesday afternoon, Kravitz said, "He changed music. He changed the perception of the electric guitar. He did things with the electric guitar that no one did — he is a pioneer and I mean, the music so incredible. When I was in junior high and high school Van Halen was absolutely everything. And I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to meet him and speak with him. I went to a show a few years ago and sat on the side of the stage and watched him play. It's a great loss. And my condolences go out to his family. He will be remembered as long as we will be able to remember for what he did."
The official Twitter account for rock band Pantera also shared emotional sentiments in honor of the late star shortly after his death was announced.
"RIP Eddie Van Halen," the tweet began. "Van Halen were a tremendous influence on both Vinnie & Dime & Pantera. Hopefully they are all rocking out together now!"
Ozzy Osbourne also paid tribute writing, "@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."
Nickelback remembered Van Halen in a brief statement: "The world lost an icon, innovator, showman, virtuoso, master songwriter and perhaps one of the biggest inspirations ever to learn how to play guitar. Heartbroken to hear of Eddie Van Halen’s passing. Our love, condolences and best wishes to his family, friends and fans. #RIP"
Legendary comedian David Alan Grier also shared his thoughts. "RIP A genius, musical change maker, one of the greatest to ever do it!" he wrote.
Van Halen touched the lives of many, including Jimmy Kimmel.
"Two of the best hours of my life were spent chatting with Eddie Van Halen," Kimmel wrote. "A great musician, yes — also a funny and lovely guy who will be missed terribly. Sending love to Janie, Wolf, Alex & all those who loved him."
Fellow rocker Gene Simmons, 71, shared his condolences on Twitter.
"My heart is broken. Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul," Simmons wrote. "Rest in peace, Eddie!"
Heavy metal bassist Geezer Butler wrote: "Just when I thought 2020 couldn't get any worse, I hear Eddie Van Halen has passed. So shocking — One of the nicest, down to Earth men I have ever met and toured with. A true gent and true genius. RIP. So sad. Thoughts go out to his brother Alex, and his family."
Sammy Hagar, famously known as the Red Rocker, shared a photo with his late bandmate, writing, "Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family."
In another tribute post, Duran Duran wrote, "The members of Duran Duran are all very sad to hear the news about @eddievanhalen. What an extraordinary musician he was! Their thoughts are with his families and friends."
American music critic Steven Hyden highlighted Van Halen's iconic contribution to Michael Jackson's hit song, "Beat It."
"Eddie Van Halen not only played that famous solo on 'Beat It,' he also rearranged the song behind Michael Jackson's back," Hyden wrote.
Singer-songwriter Taylor Momsen paid her respects to the fallen icon captioning her Instagram post, "This is a very hard one to take for so many of us...his influence and his music will go on forever, thank you for everything Eddie Van Halen RIP #EVH"
Actor and singer-songwriter Darren Criss wrote: "He was immortal even while he was alive. The name Eddie Van Halen has always been synonymous with insane ability. No matter what kind of style you play, no one can deny his colossal influence. To have a sound not only uniquely signature to the artist, but of an entire era."
Rock band Garbage shared on their official Twitter, "Eddie Van Halen. Rest in Rock."
Red Hot Chilli Peppers bassist Flea posted a legendary photo of Van Halen on his Instagram. He expressed his love for the late musician, writing: "Oh man. Damn. I love you Eddie Van Halen. A true rocker, a deep musician, a HUGE heart, an LA boy through and through. A bold innovator and the undisputed king of all wheedlers. What a sound!!! I hope you jam with Jimi tonight and soar freely through the cosmos. A vibrant part of music has left this earth. Broken through to the other side. What a sweetheart, my brother. All love and condolences to your family. ❤️❤️❤️"
Brian Wilson wrote a heartfelt message on Twitter. "I just heard about Eddie Van Halen and I feel terrible about it," he began. "Eddie was such a great guitarist and I remember how big Van Halen was, especially here in L.A. Love and Mercy to Eddie’s family & friends."
Country star Kenny Chesney honored Van Halen with a statement on Twitter. Chesney reminisced about a moment he once shared with Van Halen and the late rocker's brother Alex on stage in Los Angeles. "I am devastated at the news of the passing of my friend Eddie Van Halen," he began. "He was a friend and a hero to anyone who has ever picked up a guitar and had a dream ... I will never forget that [L.A.] night and how happy we both were that our musical paths crossed that night on stage."
Tommy Lee posted photos that were taken alongside Van Halen on his Instagram writing, "RIP to my friend and [the] man who changed guitar playing forever."
The iconic guitarist had battled throat cancer for more than 10 years. He previously defeated tongue cancer in 2002 after a two-year struggle.
Van Halen, the band, was formed in Pasadena, California in 1972 and has since released 12 studio albums. Their final release, A Different Kind of Truth, dropped in 2012.