Eddie Van Halen Dies at 65 After 'Long and Arduous' Battle with Cancer

A source close to Van Halen told PEOPLE that the guitar hero had a rapid decline in health over the past three days

Eddie Van Halen has died.

The co-founder of legendary band Van Halen died Tuesday morning after a years-long battle with cancer, his son Wolf confirmed on Twitter. He was 65.

"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," he wrote on Twitter. "He was the best father I could 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 recover from this loss," he added. "I love you so much, Pop."

Eddie Van Halen
Daniel Knighton/Getty

Van Halen's ex-wife, and mother of Wolf, Valerie Bertinelli replied to the tweet with several broken heart emojis. Van Halen and Bertinelli were married for 20 years.

A source close to Van Halen told PEOPLE that the guitar hero had a rapid decline in health over the past three days and that the cancer had "spread to all his organs."

His wife Janie Liszewski, son Wolf and ex-wife Bertinelli were at the hospital with Van Halen at the time of his death.

Earlier this year, his former bandmate David Lee Roth told Las Vegas-Review Journal that Van Halen was not doing well.

The iconic guitarist had battled throat cancer for more than 10 years, according to TMZ. He previously defeated tongue cancer in 2002 after a two-year battle.

Last year, he was admitted to the hospital with intestinal issues after a bad reaction to his cancer treatment.

Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen. Paul Natkin/Getty

The band was most recently comprised of Eddie, brother Alex, son Wolf and Roth. Van Halen is one of the top 20 best-selling artists of all time and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007

The band Van Halen was formed in 1972 in Pasadena, California. Since then, it has released 12 studio albums, including their latest A Different Kind of Truth in 2012.

The band's self-titled 1978 album featured iconic tracks such as "Runnin' with the Devil," "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" and "You Really Got Me." Their massive hit album 1984 featured tracks such as "Jump," "Hot for Teacher" and "Panama." Both LPs are certified diamond in the U.S.

Along with his work with the group, the rock legend gained notoriety after playing the guitar solo in Michael Jackson's hit "Beat It."

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