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Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

Rock icon Eddie Van Halen dead at 65

The music icon had been fighting a long battle with cancer. His son Wolfgang shared the news on Twitter Tuesday.

Legendary guitarist and rock icon Eddie Van Halen has died at the age of 65, after a long battle with cancer. His family and friends were with him. 

Van Halen had been battling cancer for years when his health suddenly went down dramatically and he was admitted to St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica, California. He died with his wife Janie and his son Wolfgang and Alex by his side, along with his brother and drummer. 

His son Wolfgang shared the news on Twitter writing, "He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I've shared with him on and off stage was a gift."

And the Associated Press reported that a person close to Van Halen’s family also confirmed the rocker died Tuesday due to cancer. The person was not authorized to publicly release details in advance of an official announcement.

There had been some near death rumors regarding the guitar rock god for years, as the Hollywood Reporter writes. Some were related to a previous diagnosis of tongue cancer in 2000, where doctors had to remove a part of his tongue. Other rumors were related to Van Halen's documented substance abuse problem in the past. 

In recent years, Van Halen was seen in public, despite his ongoing health issues attending concerts. TMZ reported last year that he was flying between the U.S. and Germany to be treated for throat cancer. 

With his distinct solos, Eddie 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,” which contains the classics “Jump,” “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher.”

Van Halen is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Rolling Stone magazine put Eddie Van Halen at No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.