Eddie Van Halen dies at 65 after longtime battle with cancer

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SANTA MONICA, Calif. (WJW) — Eddie Van Halen, the guitarist and co-founder of rock band “Van Halen,” passed away Tuesday after a long battle with cancer, according to his son, Wolfgang Van Halen.

“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,” Wolfgang shared on Twitter Tuesday. “He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift.”

TMZ reports that Eddie died at St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica, California with his wife, Janie, by his side. He was 65 years old.

He had been battling cancer over the past decade and has been in and out of the hospital over the past year.

Sources close to the family tell TMZ his health battle went quickly downhill in the last 72 hours. Doctors reportedly discovered that Eddie’s throat cancer had spread to his brain and other organs.

TMZ says that Eddie believes he developed throat cancer from frequent holding a metal guitar pick in his mouth more than 20 years ago. He was also a heavy smoker.

Eddie formed “Van Halen” in 1972 with his brother, Alex. Alex played the drums, Michael Anthony played bass and David Lee Roth was the band’s lead singer.

Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie’s son, became the band’s bassist in 2006.

“Van Halen” was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

The band is known for several hit songs including “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Unchained,” “Hot for Teacher,” “Panama” and “Jump.”

Several musicians have taken to social media offering support to the family:

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