Eddie Van Halen, legendary guitarist and co-founder of the rock group Van Halen, has died after a long battle with throat cancer, according to TMZ. Van Halen and his brother Alex grew up in Pasadena and attended Pasadena High School and Pasadena City College.
According to TMZ, Van Halen died at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica Tuesday. His wife, Janie, was by his side, along with his son, Wolfgang, and Alex.
The online site reported that in the last 72 hours Eddie’s ongoing health battle declined. Doctors discovered his throat cancer had moved to his brain as well as other organs. He had been battling cancer for over a decade.
“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,” his son Wolfgang posted on Twitter.
Eddie Van Halen and his brother Alex graduated from Pasadena High School and attended Pasadena City College, where Eddie met David Lee Roth, who graduated from John Muir High School.
“Heaven will be electric tonight,” wrote fellow musician Lenny Kravitz in a Facebook post.
In 2017, biographer Greg Renoff spoke about the band’s early year’s at Pasadena City College.
Renoff authored “Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal,” which chronicles the band’s early days in the early 1970s. The group sold 2 million copies of its debut album by the decade’s end.
— Matt Hartman (@ShorealoneFilms) October 6, 2020
Local fans are finding the memorial growing on Allen and Villa in front of the liquor store where Eddie reportly carved VAN HALEN into the sidewalk as a teenager.
According to the book, the group started as the Broken Combs before adopting the name Mammoth.
Mammoth performed in the early 1970s on the Sexson Auditorium stage at PCC.
Eddie Van Halen was born in Amsterdam in 1955. The family moved to Pasadena in 1962.
According to a Pasadena Now article written by Michelle Nati in 2018.
They hometown boys gigged at backyard parties and high school dances in the Crown City before making their way to the Sunset Strip.
“They stuck out from the rest of the LA bands making the rounds at that time, but despite their obvious talents and demo with KISS frontman Gene Simmons, they had been unable to score a record deal,” Nati wrote.
Producer Ted Templeman happened upon the band on a rainy Monday night in West Hollywood’s Starwood Club and was floored enough to make a return appearance the next night with Warner Bros. president Mo Ostin in tow. The duo pretty much offered the band a contract on the spot. Templeman helmed their debut, and with just three weeks of studio time at Sunset Sound and an unheard-of-for-the-70s reasonable budget of a little less than $50,000, they cooked up a legendary opening salvo on par with that of the Doors, Led Zeppelin, and the Stooges before them.”
After the band hit the big time, Van Halen would play with his back to the audience because he was worried other guitarists would steal his method. He played the guitar rift on Michael Jackson’s mega hit “Beat It.”
“Van Halen harkened back to days of rock bombast, but with an eye clearly looking toward the future,” Nati wrote. “The album included “Jamie’s Cryin,” “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” and their cover of the Kinks’ tune “You Really Got Me” which were all instant radio classics. The songs were hard rocking, yet accessible, and teens bought the record in droves — 17 million copies were moved, and Van Halen is still the best selling album of the band’s catalog.
The album’s first track, “Eruption,” revolutionized guitar playing, much in the way Hendrix’ set did at Woodstock almost a decade earlier. “Eruption” showcased Eddie Van Halen’s groundbreaking two-handed, finger-tapping technique that would challenge players around the globe, who have studied and mimicked it ever since with varying degrees of success. Surprisingly, however, it was not intended to be on the album. The song, which leads into “You Really Got Me,” was used as a warm-up exercise before the band hit the stage and even today, Eddie Van Halen—ever the perfectionist— still hears a flub.”