Van Halen co-founder and electric guitar innovator Eddie Van Halen has died at age 65 after a long battle with throat cancer.
Van Halen passed away at St. Johns Hospital in Santan Monica, California, Tuesday, with his wife Janie Liszewski at his side.
According to TMZ, Van Halen's health began to deteriorate over the last 72 hours. Doctors discovered that the musician's throat cancer had spread to his brain and other organs.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer battled throat cancer for more than a decade, and often traveled between the U.S. and Germany for treatment.
Reports that Van Halen's condition was worsening began circulating last summer when a rumored Van Halen stadium tour never materialized and last fall when the guitarist was briefly hospitalized with complications from his chemotherapy.
Van Halen co-founded his eponymous band in 1972 with his drummer brother Alex Van Halen and frontman David Lee Roth. The band completed its lineup with bassist Michael Anthony and went on to release a Diamond-selling self-titled debut album in 1978.
Eddie quickly became one of the world's foremost electric guitarists, revolutionizing new techniques and sounds on the instrument and laying the path for a generations of virtuosos to follow in his footsteps.
In 1986 after releasing six albums together, Van Halen parted with Roth and entered a period of even greater mainstream success with frontman Sammy Hagar in the band.
After releasing one album with Extreme's Gary Cherone on lead vocals in 1998, Van Halen went on a hiatus in the early-'00s. The band returned in 2003 with both Hagar and Anthony, and then split with them for the final time in 2005.
In 2007, Van Halen reunited with Roth and brought in Eddie's then-teenage son Wolfgang Van Halen on bass and backing vocals. The latter version of the band released its final studio album, A Different Kind of Truth, in 2012, and toured for the last time in 2015.
Despite divorcing in 2007, Eddie and ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli remained close through the years via their son. Last October, Wolfgang shared a sweet photo of himself and his parents embracing warmly and posing for his uncle, photographer Patrick Bertinelli.
Wolfgang addressed his father's passing Tuesday afternoon, sharing a black & white candid shot of Eddie with an emotional caption:
"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.
My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss.
I love you so much, Pop."
Photo: Getty Images