Van Halen songs like “Runnin’ With The Devil,” “Panama” and “Hot For Teacher” were the soundtrack to the lives of so many generations of rock fans, and there’s barely a musician in the world — guitarists especially — who didn’t idolize the fast-fingered, innovative playing of Eddie Van Halen.
His death leaves a guitar-shaped hole in the universe.
The members of Metallica called Eddie Van Halen an “inspiration” and an “idol”:
Eddie Van Halen’s longtime bandmate, Michael Anthony shared a photo with only the words “heartbroken” as he sent condolences to Van Halen’s family.
Motley Crue’s Nixxi Sixx called Van Halen the “Mozart of rock guitar.”
Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, another Los Angeles band who achieved huge fame, referenced Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix in his Tweet about Van Halen’s “beautiful, creative heart.”
In a statement to SPIN, former Alice Cooper and Thin Lizzy guitarist Damon Johnson said, “He was my hero, my #1 guy; no one came close. What Eric Clapton was to Eddie, Eddie was to me. I remember the first time I heard “Eruption.” I remember every molecule of the moment, in my friend’s Chevy Van with shag carpeting on the wall. It was like, ‘what the fuck is THAT?!’ Greatest of all time.”
KISS guitarist/singer Paul Stanley called the guitarist a “good soul” and sent condolences to his son Wolfie, whose mother is Van Halen’s ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli.
Gene Simmons who produced Van Halen’s first demo, also shared his shock.
Alex Skolnick of Testament said the loss of Eddie Van Halen left him “speechless” and “unable to function.”
Ed Roland of the band Collective Soul added a personal note to his remembrance: “As much of a talented monster he was on guitar, he also was one of the most kind, sweet and generous souls I’ve ever met. RIP Eddie.”
Food Network TV host Guy Fieri, who is friends with quite a few rockstars, including former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar, expressed his condolences as well.
See more of the tributes below: