David Lee Roth, 65, is the latest star to share a touching tribute to Eddie Van Halen, who died at the age of 65 on Oct. 6 after a lengthy battle with throat cancer. The on-again, off-again lead singer of Van Halen shared a black and white photo of himself standing backstage next to the late star as they held hands and smiled at the camera. “What a Long Great Trip It’s Been..” his simple yet powerful caption for the post read.
David’s loving words are truly bittersweet considering all the history he’s had with Eddie over the years. He first joined Van Halen with Eddie and his brother Alex Van Halen, 67, and then bass player Mark Stone when the band was first formed in the early 1970s. By 1974, they had replaced Stone with musician Michael Anthony and first went by the name Mammoth before officially changing their name to Van Halen that same year. They went from playing backyard parties and small clubs to bigger venues and became a staple on the Los Angeles music scene in the 1970s.
David stayed with the band through all their biggest moments, including when they got a recording contract in 1977 and throughout their breakthrough in hard rock music and rise on the charts. He parted ways with the band in 1985 and had success as a solo artist but eventually had a reunion with the band in 1996. He then joined the band again for an arena tour and more music in 2007 and played with them for years after.
At the time of Eddie’s passing, his son Wolfgang Van Halen, 29, was also a member of the iconic band. David’s tribute was naturally just one of many for the legendary artist, who had been battling cancer privately for the last 20 years. Other Van Halen band members, like Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone, also shared touching sentiments after Eddie’s death was announced.
“Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family,” Sammy wrote alongside a smiling photo of him and Eddie. “Whether you were blessed to have known him or not, He was a kind and gentle soul… His impact on ALL our lives was immeasurable!” Gary wrote in his tweet. “His music, eternal! My deepest sympathies to the Van Halen family… Love you Ed #LongLiveTheKing!”