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Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen dies at 65

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 27:  Musician Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen performs at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 27, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 27: Musician Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen performs at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 27, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images) (2012 Getty Images)

Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen has died after a battle with cancer, his son confirmed Tuesday. He was 65.

He was the founder and primary songwriter of the colossal rock band Van Halen. He formed the band with his brother Alex Van Halen (drums) in the early 1970s.

The band became notable for their high-energy rock while based in Los Angeles. The song “Jump," off of the wildly successful “1984” album, was Van Halen’s first and only No. 1 hit, earning them a Grammy nomination.

Eddie gained the respect of musicians around the world for his fast, technical abilities with the electric guitar. He inspired a generation of rock guitarists in search of a big sound.

He expanded his contributions far beyond his namesake band, collaborating with artists as big as Michael Jackson -- Eddie’s guitar dominates Jackson’s “Beat It.”


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