Eddie Van Halen‘s former wife, actress Valerie Bertinelli, has broken her silence to post a loving message on social media about her late ex-husband. Van Halen, 65, died earlier today after a long battle with throat cancer. The longtime guitarist for the band of the same name also suffered from diverticulitis and avascular necrosis, and had substance abuse addictions.
Bertinelli married Van Halen in April 1981, after meeting him at a concert; their divorce was finalized in December 2007.
‘I Will See You In Our Next Life’
Bertinelli wrote on Twitter: “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.”
Van Halen Suffered From Drug Addiction
In Bertinelli’s autobiography, she pointed to Van Halen’s substance abuse as one of the reasons why their marriage was troubled.
She also said his use of cocaine drove them further apart. She tried unsuccessfully to get him to quit smoking, but by that time, he had oral cancer.
Part of Van Halen’s tongue was amputated as a result of his illness. After that operation in 2002, he was declared free of cancer, but it later returned. Just this past weekend, doctors found that the cancer had spread to his brain and other organs.
‘I Love You So Much, Pop’
Their son, Wolfgang, also wrote a touching message to his dad. The couple had Wolfgang in 1991.
“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. I love you so much, Pop.”
Best Of Both Worlds
The band Van Halen formed in 1972, with Eddie Van Halen as lead guitarist. His brother, Alex Van Halen, played drums and Michael Anthony played bass. David Lee Roth was its face for several years. Roth left the band in 1985 and Sammy Hagar took over as lead singer.
The band went through several changes after that. Both Hagar and Roth left the band only to return later.
Among Van Halen’s biggest early hits were “Everybody Wants Some,” “Panama,” “Jump,” “Hot For Teacher,” and “You Really Got Me.”
VH1 ranked Van Halen 7th on their list of the top 100 hard-rock bands of all time.