Tony Iommi, David Lee Roth and more pay tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen

Fellow musicians from the rock community took to social media to celebrate the achievements of the 65-year-old guitar icon.

David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen performing in 2015

L-R: David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen performing in 2015 / Photo: John Medina / Wire Image

Edward “Eddie” Van Halen, the guitar pioneer and icon who helmed the legendary rock band Van Halen, died Wednesday (7 October) from throat cancer.

Tributes – from fellow artists in the rock community, as well as from the guitar icon’s Van Halen bandmates – have, and continue to pour in online. Here’s what some had to say…

David Lee Roth

Van Halen singer David Lee Roth took to Twitter to remember his fallen bandmate. “What a Long Great Trip It’s Been,” Roth wrote.

Sammy Hagar

Vocalist Sammy Hagar – who fronted Van Halen from 1985 to 1996, as well as in a brief reunion from 2003 to 2005 – also tweeted: “Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family.”

Tony Iommi

Guitarist Tony Iommi, whose Black Sabbath toured with Van Halen in the late 70s, remembered the guitarist.

“I’m just devastated to hear the news of the passing of my dear friend Eddie Van Halen,” Iommi wrote. “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.”

Ozzy Osbourne

Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne also remembered Van Halen, writing that he was “one of the nicest guys I ever worked with.”

“His influence on music and especially the guitar has been immeasurable,” Osbourne added. “He was an absolute legend. Eddie, I’ll see you on the other side, my friend.”

Geezer Butler

Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler also paid tribute, writing: “So shocking – one of the nicest, down to earth men I have ever met and toured with. A true gent and true genius. RIP.”

Def Leppard

Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott and Vivian Campbell paid tribute to Van Halen, each penning a statement in praise of Van Halen’s guitar mastery.

“I saw Van Halen destroy Sabbath at the Sheffield City hall in 1977,” Elliott wrote. “Eddie was a big part of that, having essentially reinvented guitar playing just like Jimi Hendrix had done a generation earlier.”

Campbell recalled first hearing Van Halen’s music when a guitarist friend brought over the band’s first LP to his house.

“It was a moment that redefined everything that I thought was possible about playing the guitar,” Campbell tweeted. “The goalposts had just been moved. I stayed up all that night trying to learn from Eddie. Many decades later, and I’m still learning from Eddie.”


Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, a fellow Los Angeles musician, mourned the fallen guitar icon in a message shared to Twitter.

“Oh man, bless his beautiful creative heart,” Flea tweeted. “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.”

Wolfgang Van Halen

Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang Van Halen, first confirmed news of his father’s passing in a statement over Twitter.

“I can’t believe I’m having to write this,” the statement read. “But my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning. He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift.”

John Mayer

Guitarist John Mayer paid tribute on Instagram, writing: “Eddie Van Halen was a guitar superhero. A true virtuoso. A stunningly good musician and composer. Looking up to him as a young kid was one of the driving forces in my needing to pick up a guitar.”

“Learning to play the guitar taught me so many things, but still absolutely nothing about how to play like Eddie Van Halen. And for that reason, I never stopped watching him in adolescent awe and wonder, and I promise you I never will. So very sad to learn of his passing. My love to his family, his bandmates, his friends and his crew.”

The full post is below:

Nita Strauss

Guitarist Nita Strauss wrote on Instagram: “The word ‘innovator’ gets thrown around a lot in this industry. In my humble opinion, there is no one it applies to more than the great Eddie Van Halen. Thank you for being THE innovator, the ultimate pioneer of these six strings and blazing a trail for so many of us to attempt to follow. Forever an inspiration.’ Her full post is below:

John Petrucci

Dream Theater’s John Petrucci also paid tribute on Instagram, writing: “EVH changed guitar forever and was a tremendous inspiration for me and countless guitarists everywhere. Today the guitar community and the world mourn the loss of a true innovator, legend and one of the greatest musical icons of our time. My deepest sympathies go out to his family. May you Rest In Peace Eddie.”

Gene Simmons

Kiss’ Gene Simmons wrote on Twitter: “Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul. Rest in peace, Eddie!”

Paul Stanley

Simmons’ bandmate Paul Stanley wrote: “Speechless. A trailblazer and someone who always gave everything to his music. A good soul.” His full tweet is below:

Billy Idol

Billy Idol wrote on Twitter: “Rest in peace guitar legend Eddie Van Halen. We will miss you.”

Nikki Sixx

Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx on Twitter: “Crushed. So fucking crushed … You were the Mozart of rock guitar.”

Lenny Kravitz

Singer and guitarist Lenny Kravitz wrote that “Heaven will be electric tonight” – and posted a fantastically energetic photo of Van Halen playing live.

Brian Wilson

Music legend Brian Wilson also took to Twitter to pay tribute, writing: “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.”

Steven Tyler

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler wrote: “He changed the course of guitar whammy bar rock and rhyme… a game-changer. And his melodic crazy was over the top. We’ll miss you Eddie.”

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