Eddie Van Halen has reportedly been battling throat cancer privately for the last 20 years and is actively getting treatment for it. Here are five things you should know about the legendary musician.
Eddie Van Halen, 64, has been flying back and forth between the United States and Germany for years to get treatment for throat cancer and has managed to keep it quiet, according to TMZ. The famed guitarist of the iconic hard rock band Van Halen, was diagnosed with the cancer 20 years ago and has been successfully getting radiation treatment in Germany for the last five years, which is helping to keep the disease manageable, the outlet reported. Sources also said that there were times in the past when some of the cancer cells traveled down to Eddie’s throat and a doctor had to scrape them out. Although Eddie has been a heavy smoker most of his life, the cancer is suspected to have been caused by a metal guitar pick that he would often cradle in his mouth. Despite the diagnosis and years of treatment, he is rumored to be doing well on the surface for now.
Here are five things you should know about Eddie and his successful career.
1.) He is the main founder of Van Halen. The talented guitarist and songwriter, who was born in the Netherlands, started the band, which currently includes him, his brother Alex Van Halen, who plays the drums, his son Wolfgang Van Halen, who plays bass, and David Lee Roth, who sings, in 1972 and it went on to become one of the most successful hard rock bands of all time. Past members include original bassist Mark Stone, bassist Michael Anthony, who played from 1974-2006, singer Sammy Hagar, who sang from 1985-1996, and his replacement Gary Cherone, who sang from 1996 until the late 1990s. Their self-titled debut album reached number 19 on the Billboard pop music charts in 1978 and their song “Jump” from their album 1984 reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1983.
2.) His legendary guitar playing can be heard on Michael Jackson’s classic 1982 tune “Beat It”. Eddie played the famous guitar solo in the song and went on to play riffs on other hit songs, including the Jimi Hendrix cover song “If Six Was Nine” from the 2005 album The State of Things by David Garfield and Friends.
3.) He’s had injuries from stage antics in the past. Eddie had to have hip replacement surgery in Nov. 1999 after his 1995 diagnosis of avascular necrosis eventually became unbearable. The diagnosis was caused by injuries brought on by the antics and crashes he had on stage during performances.
4.) He was married multiple times. His first marriage was to actress Valerie Bertinelli, with whom he shares son Wolfgang, in 1981. They had Wolfgang in 1991 before divorcing in 2007. He then went on to marry Janie Liszewski in 2009.
5.) He had emergency surgery in 2012. The surgery was needed after he suffered a severe bout with the gastrointestinal disease, diverticulitis. It caused him to have to postpone the Van Halen tour that year.