JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford has reflected on the passing of Eddie Van Halen. The legendary VAN HALEN guitarist died on Tuesday (October 6) at the age of 65 after a long battle with cancer.
Asked in a new video interview with Metal Injection if he had any personal memories of Eddie to share with the viewers, Rob said: "A couple of strong memories. The frst one, when I was introduced to Eddie's spectacular guitarmanship was in the very early days of JUDAS PRIEST. Our manager, Dave Corke at the time, came over to where I was living and banged on the door and said, 'You've gotta come sit in my car and listen to this cassette that somebody sent me from America. It's this new band. They're called VAN HALEN. I don't know anything about 'em, but just listen to this music.' So I went and sat in the car outside my house, and we played the whole first VAN HALEN album. And I was just mesmerized — I was mesmerized by his guitar playing. It was like something we'd never ever heard before from a guitar player. So that was the first time. And then, some years later, PRIEST were special guests to VAN HALEN at the Santa Monica Civic, and we had a show together, and it was just a thrill because we were all fans of them. Turns out they, too, were fans of PRIEST, especially Eddie, with what Glenn [Tipton] and K.K. [Downing] were doing at the time. So, we became friends, and we kept that friendship going.
"I know that Eddie came to PRIEST shows, because afterwards, I'd find out that he'd been with Glenn and they were talking about guitars and so on and so forth, like guitar players do," he continued.
"Man, it's just horrible — it's absolutely horrible," Halford added, referring to Eddie's untimely death. "We've lost so many people this year, on top of this pandemic. When will it stop, you know? But you have to pull through all that, pull through the rubble, and do what we always do when we lose these musical giants — is put their music on. 'Cause I was blasting VAN HALEN all day yesterday to get me through the loss of this incredible player."
Eddie died at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. His wife, Janie, was by his side, along with his son, Wolfgang, and Alex, Eddie's brother and VAN HALEN drummer.
The iconic VAN HALEN axeman died from complications due to cancer, his son confirmed.
Eddie and Alex formed VAN HALEN in 1972 in Pasadena, California, with David Lee Roth on lead vocals and Michael Anthony on bass.
VAN HALEN was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked Eddie Van Halen No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.
After undergoing hip replacement surgery in 1999 due to a chronic joint problem, Eddie was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2000 and had to have part of his tongue surgically removed. He later battled throat cancer and reportedly had been receiving radiation treatment in Germany. It is believed that his heavy smoking over the years led to his long battle with cancer.