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TRIBUTES TO EDDIE Queen’s Brian May joins rock world in remembering guitarist Eddie Van Halen

The musician has been been widely considered one of the most influential guitarists ever.

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Queen guitarist Brian May has paid tribute to “original and dazzling” Eddie Van Halen following his death at the age of 65.

The man described as “Mozart for guitar” died on Tuesday after a “long and arduous” battle with cancer.

May said in an Instagram post: “Completely gutted to hear the sad news. This wonderful man was way too young to be taken. What a talent – what a legacy – probably the most original and dazzling rock guitarist in History.

“I think of him as a boy – an innocent prodigy – always full of joy, always modest – and those truly magical fingers opened a door to a new kind of playing.

“I treasure the moments we shared. His passing leaves a giant hole in my heart. RIP Ed Van Halen. Bri”.

Eddie’s son, Van Halen bassist Wolfgang, announced news of his death with a statement on social media.

He said: “I can’t believe I’m having to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning.

“He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift.

“My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss.”

Wolfgang added: “I love you so much, Pop.”

Valerie Bertinelli, Van Halen’s first wife and 29-year-old Wolfgang’s mother, shared a touching tribute and revealed she was at his side when he died.

She wrote: “40 years ago my life changed forever when I met you.

“You gave me the one true light in my life, our son, Wolfgang. Through all your challenging treatments for lung cancer, you kept your gorgeous spirit and that impish grin.

“I’m so grateful Wolfie and I were able to hold you in your last moments. I will see you in our next life my love.”

Bertinelli was married to Van Halen from 1981 to 2007. TMZ reported Van Halen’s current wife, Janie Liszewski, was also by his side when he died at a hospital in Santa Monica.

A message on the official AC/DC twitter account described Eddie as a “guitar wonder, his playing pure wizardry”.

It added: “To the world of music he was a special gift. To those of us fortunate enough to have met him, a very special person. He leaves a big hole in a lot of hearts. To the van Halen family my heartfelt sympathies. Angus.”

Revered guitarist Eddie was Van Halen’s creative force as they blurred the line between hard rock and heavy metal on their way to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world in the 1980s.

Van Halen, reportedly a heavy smoker who fought alcoholism, had battled health issues. He first received treatment for tongue cancer in 2000 and the subsequent surgery removed about a third of his tongue.

He was declared cancer-free in 2002. It was reported last year that Van Halen had been privately battling throat cancer for five years.

Press Association