Eddie Van Halen, a pioneering guitar player whose hard-rock band emerged from the Sunset Strip music scene in Los Angeles in the early 1970s to stand at the top of the rock ' n ' roll for a decade, died of cancer on Tuesday. He was 65 years old.
Van Halen's death was announced in later years by his 29-year-old son, Wolfgang, a bass player who joined the band, best known for songs like "Jump" and "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love."
"I can't believe I have to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, lost his long and arduous cancer fight this morning," said Van Halen on Twitter.
The representatives of Eddie Van Halen did not disclose details of his death. People's magazine reported that the rocker had died in a hospital in Los Angeles with his wife, Janie, son, and other family members at his side.
"Through all your challenging treatments for lung cancer, you've kept your gorgeous spirit and that impish grin," said his 26-year-old ex-wife, actress Valerie Bertinelli, on Twitter.
Fans put flowers and guitar picks on Van Halen's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
"What a long, great trip it was," said David Lee Roth, the band's flamboyant frontman during his years of glory, in a Twitter message above a black-and-white photo of the two men holding their hands backstage at a concert.
Eddie Van Halen was born in Amsterdam on January 26, 1955, and studied classical piano after moving with his family to the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena in the 1960s.
He and his older brother, Alex, who took the drums, formed bands that would eventually become Van Halen in the mid-1970s, with lead singer Roth and bassist Michael Anthony.
The hard-rock band, featuring Eddie Van Halen's explosive riffs and solos, quickly became the staple of Sunset Strip clubs like Gazzari's and Whisky and Go Go Go before releasing their eponymous debut album in 1978.
That album was shot at No. 19 on Billboard charts, becoming one of the most successful debuts of the decade and the first in a string of top-selling albums that would make Van Halen one of the biggest rock acts of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Eddie Van Halen, known for his two-handed string tapping technique, earned a spot on Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page as one of the most celebrated rock guitarists. In 2012, Guitar World Magazine readers voted him the greatest of all time.
Roth, who often clashed with Van Halen 's brothers, split from the band in the mid-1980s and was replaced by Sammy Hagar for a decade. The original lineup was reunited in 2007 for a tour and, four years later, an album.
"My heart has broken. Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a truly beautiful soul," said Gene Simmons, Kiss' lead singer and Van Halen's early champion with record companies on Twitter.