Eddie Van Halen, legendary rock guitarist and co-founder of Van Halen, died on Oct. 6 at age 65 after battling throat cancer.
“I can’t believe I’m having to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning,” said Eddie’s son, Wolfgang, via Twitter. “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.”
Eddie’s five-decade career had a profound impact across all genres of music. A number of country stars have shared their thoughts and condolences via social media, including Kenny Chesney, Travis Tritt, Jason Isbell and more (this post will be updated as more thoughts are shared).
Kenny Chesney via Twitter: “I am devastated at the news of the passing of my friend Eddie Van Halen. He was a friend and a hero to anyone who has ever picked up a guitar and had a dream. Eddie and his brother Alex joined up on stage at one of our stadium shows in Los Angeles and it was one of the highlights of my touring life in all my summers on the road. I will never forget that night and how happy we both were that our musical paths crossed that night on stage. Rest in Peace to the best guitar player that ever lived. We will miss you Eddie Van Halen. Your music will live forever!!”
Jason Isbell via Twitter: “Yesterday @amandashires and I were singing our heavy song and cameras were rolling and I could tell she was feeling some emotions, so I very poorly played a little bit of Eruption to make her smile and it worked. No musician ever brought me more joy than #EddieVanHalen. Grateful.”
Travis Tritt via Twitter: “Another legendary musical innovator gone too soon. #RIPEddieVanHalen”
Charles Esten via Twitter: “R.I.P. #EddieVanHalen”
Jay DeMarcus via Twitter: “My God. Another legend taken away from us…. This is absolutely heartbreaking…. 2020 just keeps on and on and on… RIP peace, one of the absolute greatest of all time,@eddievanhalen #rocknroll #rocklegend #gonetoosoon”
Brad Paisley via Twitter: “For @eddievanhalen Me, #willferrell, @chadsmithofficial @officialduffmckagan playing dress up. Eddie, your influence will live on forever.”
Keith Urban via Instagram: “Just heard the news of Eddie Van Halen’s passing ….. this hit me hard. There are lots of great guitar players in the world, but very VERY few true innovators. Players who seem to have arrived from a far distant planet , and who bring a completely new color to the rainbow. Eddie Van Halen was this and so much more. Even without the finger tapping, you had a player with extraordinary touch, tone, and a rhythmic pocket and bounce that floated like Ali in the ring. He was a master of complex solos that spoke to non musicians…THAT IS HARD TO DO. The reason was the exquisite melody in his heart, and the joy in his soul of playing FOR people – and it came through like a ray of sun we ALL felt. I say a prayer today for his family and friends. – and from players like me , all over the world who never got to meet him, I say THANK YOU EDDIE. WE LOVE YOU !!!!!!!”
Phil Vassar via Twitter: “I am so devastated by the passing of the rock legend Eddie Van Halen. My condolences to Wolfie and the family. ROCK ON EDDIE!! RIP”
Travis Denning via Twitter: “I remember how I felt when I learned this as a kid. Still feel that way now. No one will ever do it like he did. #RIPEddieVanHalen”
Tim McGraw via Twitter: “I can’t even begin to describe the times in my life where Van Halen music was the soundtrack!!!! High school College spring breaks( will not share those stories…Just great rock music that became a touchstone for the times we grew up in…….”
photo by Tammie Arroyo, AFF-USA.com