SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) — Rock legend Eddie Van Halen died Tuesday of cancer at the age of 65.
The rocker’s son, Wolf Van Halen, confirmed the death of his father Tuesday with a tweet.
“My heart is broken and I don’t think I can recover from this loss,” Wolf Van Halen wrote.
Van Halen and his brother moved to Pasadena as children from the Netherlands. They both attended Pasadena High School and Pasadena City College.
The brothers formed their band in 1972, changing its name to Van Halen and became a staple of L.A. music in the mid-1970s, playing world-famous clubs like the Whisky a Go Go. The band went on to become one of the biggest rock bands in the world after the release of their legendary album “1984.”
Within hours of the news of his passing, memorials popped up around the city of Pasadena, including at their childhood home and the spot where the brothers wrote “Van Halen” in the sidewalk. Fans left guitar picks, flowers, and cards.
“I wanted to pay my respects to the greatest guitar player that ever lived,” said fan Ricky Parish. “I’ve listened to Van Halen my whole life. My band’s heavily influenced by the band. It’s just a tragic loss.”
A floral arrangement was placed outside of Guitar Center in Hollywood where Van Halen’s guitars and handprints were on display.
Fans stopped by the store Tuesday to remember the rock legend.
“I was a teenager when they broke on the scene. They were from Pasadena. I grew up in Eagle Rock,” said fan Sean Keegan.
Another fan, Rakesh Patel, said, “You attach yourself to that music and it kind of brings happy thoughts.”
Van Halen donated a prototype of his iconic guitar to the store but people who work here said he was generous in other ways.
“Just such a gracious guy and very generous with his time,” said Guitar Center Artists Relations Manager Eric Bradley. “Smiling and happy to take a photo.”
Eddie Van Halen was considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He famously provided the lead-in guitar track for Michael Jackson’s iconic song, “Beat It.”
Van Halen was diagnosed with tongue cancer 20 years ago and was declared cancer-free two years later. According to reports, the cancer spread, and Van Halen’s health took a dramatic turn for the worst in the last few days.
He had a son with actress Valerie Bertinelli, whom he divorced in 2007. Van Halen went on to marry actress and stuntwoman Janie Liszewki in 2009.
Eddie Van Halen is survived by his wife and son.