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Eddie Van Halen died in October at age 65 after a years-long battle with cancer

By Eric Todisco
December 27, 2020 10:50 AM
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Sammy Hagar, Eddie Van Halen
Sammy Hagar and Eddie Van Halen
| Credit: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty

Sammy Hagar is looking back on his final conversation with longtime Van Halen bandmate Eddie Van Halen.

In a new interview with Variety, Hagar, 73, recounted the heartfelt phone call he had with Van Halen before the guitarist died at the age of 65 in October after a years-long battle with cancer.

“Poor Eddie, broke my heart, but thank God we connected before [he died],” Hagar said. “I heard he was in bad shape and I wanted to reach out; I finally said, ‘I’m just calling him.' "

Hagar explained to the outlet that he was initially unable to connect with Van Halen since he no longer had his former bandmate's phone number.

"I was calling his brother, I was calling his manager, I was calling his friends, and I’d say, ‘Hey, tell Ed, give him my phone number. Tell him if he ever wants to talk to me, I really, really want to talk it out, help him and see what I can do,' " Hagar said. “I [told them], ‘I want to be his friend, I want to bury the hatchet,’ but they never got it done.”

Eddie Van Halen Sammy Hagar
Eddie Van Halen and Sammy Hagar
| Credit: Ross Marino/Getty

Eventually, their mutual friend George Lopez helped put them in contact.

"George is a dear friend and he was Eddie’s friend and he said, ‘Sammy, Eddie’s in bad shape, he loves you brother, you need to reach out.’ I said, ‘Give me his f---ing number and I’ll make sure I call him,' ” Hagar continued.

Once Hagar and Van Halen spoke on the phone, their longtime bond was restored. "I said, ‘Why don’t you respond? I’ve been reaching out,' and Ed said, ‘Why didn’t you call me? Don’t f---ing call my brother, f---ing call me!’ " Hagar recalled. "And I said, ‘I love you man,’ and it was like, boom, we were good. It was a beautiful thing.”

RELATED VIDEO: Sammy Hagar Reveals He Reconciled with Eddie Van Halen 'Earlier This Year' Before His Death

Hagar and Van Halen first became bandmates in 1985, when Hagar stepped in to fill vocalist David Lee Roth's spot after he parted ways with the band. Hagar left the band himself in 1996, but he reunited with them years later on The Best of Both Worlds tour in 2004.

Shortly after Van Halen's son Wolf confirmed the rocker's death on Twitter on Oct. 6, Hagar shared a brief message in response to the news to his social media pages.

"Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family," Hagar wrote alongside a smiling photo of the pair.

In 2016, Hagar spoke with Classic Rock Report about his relationship with Van Halen, explaining that he didn't want to have "any regrets or bad vibes" with his former bandmate.

"It just makes when you stop and think that, you know, with my relationship with Eddie Van Halen and stuff that's always been in the toilet, it makes you say, 'I don't want to be buried with any regrets or bad vibes like that,' " he said.

Hagar continued, "It makes you want to be just friends with everybody and say, 'Hey, look, forget it.' Even if you don't want to be in a band together, just let's be friends. No more enemies for me."