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Eddie Van Halen biography: 13 things about Dutch-Indonesian guitarist, songwriter

Edward Lodewijk “Eddie” Van Halen was a guitarist and songwriter. He is the brother of Alexander Arthur “Alex” Van Halen.

Eddie and Alex are of Dutch and Indonesian descent. They co-founded the American rock band Mammoth, which was renamed Van Halen. 

With Edward as the main songwriter and guitarist and Alexander as the drummer, Van Halen has two more members namely Mark Stone as the bassist and David Lee Roth as the vocalist.

Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar, Gary Cherone and Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen also became members of Van Allen. Here are 13 more things about Eddie:

  1. He was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands to Dutch jazz pianist, clarinetist and saxophonist Jan van Halen and Eugenia Rygelo van Beers, who is of Indonesian and Dutch descent.
  2. In 1961, he started learning to play the piano. In 1962, he and his family moved from the Netherlands to the United States. They settled in Pasadena, California, USA.
  3. He and Alex became naturalized U.S. citizens. As kids, they commuted from Pasadena to San Pedro, Los Angeles, California to study with their piano teacher Stasys Kalvaitis.
  4. In 1964, he and Alex formed The Broken Combs, their very first band, which they renamed to The Trojan Rubber Co then to Genesis then to Mammoth. In 1974, the band was renamed Van Halen. In 1977, Warner Records offered the band a recording contract. The members of the band disbanded in 2020.
  5. From 1964 through 1967, he won first place in the annual piano competition at Long Beach City College in Long Beach, California. In 1967, he started smoking.
  6. In 1980, he met Valerie Bertinelli at a Van Halen concert in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA. They got married on April 11, 1981. She gave birth to their son Wolfgang on March 16, 1991.
  7. He contributed the guitar solo to “Beat It,” is a song from Michael Jackson’s sixth studio album titled “Thriller,” which was released in 1982. In the same year, he launched the 5150 Baretta model with Kramer, which was his his first guitar endorsement. In 1989, Ernie Ball launched the 5150 EVH line of guitar strings, which marked his first string endorsement deal.
  8. In 1995, he was diagnosed with chronic avascular necrosis. It became unbearable so in 1999, he underwent hip replacement surgery.
  9. In 2001, he and Bertinelli separated. In 2005, she filed for divorce in Los Angeles, which was finalized in 2007. Also in 2007, he entered rehabilitation after struggling with alcoholism and drug abuse for years.
  10. He started being sober in 2008, the same year he proposed to Janie Liszewski, who was Van Halen’s publicist at the time. They got married in 2009 at his estate in Studio City, Los Angeles. An ordained minister, Alex officiated the wedding, which was attended by Bertinelli and Wolfgang.
  11. In 2012, he underwent an emergency surgery for a severe bout of diverticulitis.  From 2014 to 2018, he battled throat cancer. He was hospitalized in 2019.
  12. In 2015, he spoke at an event at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., USA. He said, “We came here with approximately $50 and a piano, and we didn’t speak the language. Now look where we are. If that’s not the American dream, what is?”
  13. He died at the age of 65 at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California on October 6, 2020. The immediate cause of his death was stroke, according to his death certificate obtained by TMZ. He was cremated on October 28, 2020. The ashes went to Wolfgang.

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