We lost our hero to cancer two years ago on Oct.6, 2020.
The first thing I remember is a Twitter message from Wolfgang: “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 recover from this loss. I love you so much, Pop.” Personally, my own heart sank. I felt as if a lifelong friend had passed. The tributes continue to this very day thanks to social media. We now live vicariously through Wolfgang watching him carry the Van Halen Family legacy. So far he is doing all of us proud.
The first time I discovered Van Halen was at a friend’s house. The first song I heard was “Eruption,” and I asked my friend, “Are you sure the record isn’t on the wrong speed? There’s no way a guitarist could be this fast.” It was a few years that I would catch a show at Cobo and was hooked on them as one of my favorite bands. They had the whole package: guitar, drums, bass, and one flamboyant lead singer. Years later in my radio career, I got to meet them all. On the VH Balance tour, I got the one-on-one meeting with Eddie and to see all the awesome guitars. The gold ‘Lil guitar, the red-white striped guitar. And got to very lightly shake his hand. The only time I was ever mad at Ed is when he married my crush growing up Valarie Bertinelli! I forgave him immediately as I almost never hold a grudge. Thanks again for being a wonderful soundtrack to my life and radio career at stations like Z-Rock & WRIF. Prayers continue to Wolfgang and his Family, Van Halen crew, and fans as this caught everyone off guard even two years later. R.I.P. Ed and Thank You.