Eddie Van Halen Dies: Look Back at His Life In Photos
The rock legend died at 65 on Oct. 6 after battling cancer
Eddie Van Halen was born on Jan.26, 1955, in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. In the early 1960s, the future rock legend's family moved to California, and he started studying music alongside his brother, Alex.
The band Van Halen was formed in 1972 in Pasadena, California, when Eddie and Alex were joined by Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth. They would put out their first, self-titled album in 1978, after being discovered by Gene Simmons (yes, that Gene Simmons from Kiss).
The band released album after album, including the majorly popular 1984, which contained some of the band's most recognizable hits like "Panama," "Hot For Teacher," and "Jump."
Here's a fun fact about Eddie: He also recorded the famous guitar solo in Michael Jackson's "Beat It."
The band had its ups and downs, with a rotation of lead singers starting in 1985, when Roth left the band and was replaced by Sammy Hagar. In 1995, Roth returned, but soon left the band and was replaced (again) by Gary Cherone. Roth would return to the band in 2012.
In 1981, Eddie married One Day at a Time actress Valerie Bertinelli, and the pair would be married for nearly two decades before announcing in July 2002 that they were separating. Their divorce was finalized in 2007.
Bertinelli and Van Halen share one child together, Wolfgang Van Halen, who was born on March 16, 1991. On his son's 29th birthday in March 2020, Eddie wrote alongside a baby photo of his son, "The Best Day of My Life. Happy Birthday Wolf! I Love You So Much!! Your Pop ❤"
Through the years, the band won four MTV Video Music Awards, one Grammy and one American Music Award.
In August 2007, the band (including Eddie's son, Wolfgang, who became the band's bassist in 2006) announced that Van Halen would be heading out for another North American tour. That same year, the band was inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2009, Eddie married his girlfriend of three years, Janie Liszewski.
In 2000, the rocker was diagnosed with tongue cancer, and was declared cancer-free in 2002. Unfortunately he spent the past 10 years battling throat cancer before it metastasized elsewhere in his body, a source told PEOPLE.
On Oct. 6, 2020, Wolfgang revealed that his father had passed away in an emotional Instagram caption. He wrote, "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 was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I've shared with him on and off stage was a gift," he continued.
He concluded, "My heart is broken and I don't think I'll ever fully recover from this loss. I love you so much, Pop."