“Just when I thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse.”
The music world and beyond was left reeling on Tuesday with the devastating news Eddie Van Halen had died.
The guitar legend passed away at 65, after his decade-long battle with cancer took a sudden and tragic turn.
According to TMZ, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer passed at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica with his wife Janie, son Wolfgang, and brother Alex by his side.
Wolfgang, who played bass for the band named after his father, confirmed the awful news on Instagram.
Twitter was quickly flooded with an outpouring of grief from his fellow rockers and across the music landscape.
“My heart is broken. Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul,” Gene Simmons wrote. “Rest in peace, Eddie!”
“Crushed. So f–king crushed,” Nikki Sixx tweeted. “RIP Eddie Van Halen. You changed our world. You were the Mozart of rock guitar. Travel safe rockstar.”
“Oh man, bless his beautiful creative heart,” wrote Flea. “I love you Eddie Van Halen, an LA boy, a true rocker. I hope you jam with Jimi tonight. Break through to the other side my brother.”
His former bandmate Sammy Hagar simply wrote: “Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family.”
Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family. pic.twitter.com/MQMueMF2XO
— Sammy Hagar (@sammyhagar) October 6, 2020
My heart is broken. Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul. Rest in peace, Eddie! …Eddie Van Halen Dead at 65 from Cancer https://t.co/gITtcndQVv
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) October 6, 2020
Crushed. So fucking crushed. RIP Eddie Van Halen. You changed our world. You were the Mozart of rock guitar. Travel safe rockstar.
— —Nikki Sixx— (@NikkiSixx) October 6, 2020
Oh man, bless his beautiful creative heart. I love you Eddie Van Halen, an LA boy, a true rocker. I hope you jam with Jimi tonight. Break through to the other side my brother. ❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/XpcTlPJq9A
— Flea (@flea333) October 6, 2020
Oh NO! Speechless. A trailblazer and someone who always gave everything to his music. A good soul. I remember first seeing him playing at the Starwood in 1976 and he WAS Eddie Van Halen. So shocked and sad. My condolences to Wolfie and the family. https://t.co/ExAWzFAEYJ
— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) October 6, 2020
Just when I thought 2020 couldn't get any worse, I hear Eddie Van Halen has passed. So shocking- One of the nicest, down to Earth men I have ever met and toured with. A true gent and true genius. RIP. So sad.Thoughts go out to his brother Alex, and his family. pic.twitter.com/fwIw040YMX
— Geezer Butler (@geezerbutler) October 6, 2020
Guitar Hero is an understatement. Van Halen forever man.
— I Brought A Band, Sam Is On Trombone (@questlove) October 6, 2020
— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) October 6, 2020
I just heard about Eddie Van Halen and I feel terrible about it. Eddie was such a great guitarist and I remember how big Van Halen was, especially here in L.A. Love and Mercy to Eddie’s family & friends. pic.twitter.com/PY8fyrx1Lu
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) October 6, 2020
https://t.co/QjAj45KED8 Apex talent. An unparalleled titan in the annals of rock n roll. One of the greatest musicians in the history of mankind. Rest In Peace, King Edward
— Tom Morello (@tmorello) October 6, 2020
I’m just devastated to hear the news of the passing of my dear friend Eddie Van Halen. He fought a long and hard battle with his cancer right to the very end. Eddie was one of a very special kind of person, a really great friend. Rest In Peace my dear friend till we meet again. pic.twitter.com/Qs8tsLPANJ
— Tony Iommi (@tonyiommi) October 6, 2020
I am devastated at the news of the passing of my friend Eddie Van Halen. pic.twitter.com/hUyIdKXsdG
— Kenny Chesney (@kennychesney) October 6, 2020
One of the greatest guitarists of all time! Rest in peace Eddie Van Halen pic.twitter.com/T0unvRXYmf
— muse (@muse) October 6, 2020
Eddie Van Halen and Neil Peart were just too good for 2020.
We all are
My heart is broken
— Sebastian Bach (@sebastianbach) October 6, 2020
Rest In Peace Edward Van Halen. https://t.co/VdUACX5zJn
— Official Dio (@OfficialRJDio) October 6, 2020
The world lost an icon, innovator, showman, virtuoso, master songwriter and perhaps one of the biggest inspirations ever to learn how to play guitar. Heartbroken to hear of Eddie Van Halen’s passing. Our love, condolences and best wishes to his his family, friends and fans. #RIP pic.twitter.com/pGhPUXRzyb
— Nickelback (@Nickelback) October 6, 2020
Rest In Peace to one of the truly greatest musicians of all time. My first guitar hero – the guitarist I grew up listening to in car rides with my family – a man I excitedly share the same birth date and month with: Mr. Eddie Van Halen. pic.twitter.com/cS3ovRrcnj
— Matthew kiichichaos Heafy (@matthewkheafy) October 6, 2020
RIP Eddie Van Halen. Van Halen were a tremendous influence on both Vinnie & Dime & Pantera. Hopefully they are all rocking out together now! pic.twitter.com/XtnL33aGsd
— Pantera (@Pantera) October 6, 2020
R.I.P. Eddie Van Halen, a true pioneer in music. To have lived in a time…
— Zane Lowe (@zanelowe) October 6, 2020
— Gus G. (@gusgofficial) October 6, 2020
Beyond the world of music, actors, comedians and celebrities alike shared their grief.
“Two of the best hours of my life were spent chatting with Eddie Van Halen,” Jimmy Kimmel shared. “A great musician, yes – also a funny and lovely guy who will be missed terribly. Sending love to Janie, Wolf, Alex & all those who loved him.”
“So sorry for your tragic loss @WolfVanHalen, but take solace in knowing that he will be long remembered and live on forever as one of Rock’s most extraordinary guitar virtuosos,” Mark Hamill tweeted. “Condolences to you, Valerie @Wolfiesmom and the entire Van Halen family.”
Bill & Ted writer Ed Solomon said the rocker was a huge influence on his films — so much so that the director insisted on a Van Halen album playing even while he read the script.
Two of the best hours of my life were spent chatting with Eddie Van Halen. A great musician, yes – also a funny and lovely guy who will be missed terribly. Sending love to Janie, Wolf, Alex & all those who loved him.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) October 6, 2020
RIP Eddie Van Halen you fucking rocked a billion cocks off. Man. pic.twitter.com/6coDqTO47M
— Dane Cook (@DaneCook) October 6, 2020
— David Alan Grier (@davidalangrier) October 6, 2020
So sorry for your tragic loss @WolfVanHalen, but take solace in knowing that he will be long remembered and live on forever as one of Rock's most extraordinary guitar virtuosos. Condolences to you, Valerie @Wolfiesmom and the entire Van Halen family.#RIPEdward https://t.co/XWoCe8nrZv
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) October 6, 2020
Super sad to hear about the passing of Eddie Van Halen. He was a big influence on Chris & me as we were writing Bill & Ted. In fact, when director Stephen Herek was reading the script he got 3 pages in, stopped, put on 1984 & resumed. We wanted the movie to be a cinematic “Jump.” pic.twitter.com/B2oTnDMWdH
— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) October 6, 2020
RIP Eddie Van Halen, 65.
One of the greatest guitarists in music history and a delightfully warm, funny guy.
‘To hell with the rules, if it sounds right – then it is.’ pic.twitter.com/AZIAEMC5Pm
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) October 6, 2020
Rock and roll lost a great man today. Eddie Van Halen, your guitar was legendary, and your music will live on forever.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) October 6, 2020
We are in a season of grief. Eddie Van Halen, grinning guitar god for a rock generation, dies at 65 https://t.co/SKo9nDpOBe
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) October 6, 2020
As a non musician, anyone who can play an instrument impresses me. What's mind blowing is how a genius like Eddie Van Halen can pick up that instrument and make it make a sound only they can. One that's instantly recognizable and will be forever.
— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) October 6, 2020
God bless you #EdwardVanHalen, your work with @vanhalen and your music has done more to make the world a happier place than you’ll ever know. And one more thing….after taking #NeilPeart, @kobebryant and now #EVH from us, 2020, will you kindly just FUCK OFF already? pic.twitter.com/MJTOU19gKn
— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) October 6, 2020
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) October 6, 2020