Eddie Van Halen dead at 65 from cancer

Now and then: ’60s and ’70s rockers
Carl Lender/Wikimedia Commons
Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen in his younger days. The band got its start in the 1970s, with its self-titled debut album coming out in 1978.

Eddie Van Halen, the guitar virtuoso whose blinding speed, control and innovation propelled his band Van Halen into one of hard rock’s biggest groups, fueled the unmistakable grinding solo in Michael Jackson’s hit “Beat It” and elevated him to the status of rock god, has died.

He was 65.

Van Halen, who had battled cancer, died Tuesday.

A person close to Van Halen’s family confirmed the rocker death.

With his distinct solos, Van Halen fueled the ultimate California party band and helped knock disco off the charts starting in the late 1970s with his band’s self-titled debut album and then with the blockbuster record “1984.”