CLEVELAND — This one really hurts.
If you are like me and grew up in the infancy of MTV in the early 1980s, you couldn't help but love Van Halen. The heart and soul of the group was its lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 65.
LIke so many guitar greats, Van Halen had a sound that was all his own and unmistakable. Whether it was with David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar singing out front, you always had Eddie's guitar to mold the two eras together. Heck, he even played a sweet guitar solo during Michael Jackson's iconic song 'Beat It.'
Van Halen is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Rolling Stone magazine put Eddie Van Halen at No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.
The rock world was quick to take to social media to mourn the loss of Eddie Van Halen, including his former bandmate Hagar.
Eddie Van Halen's ex-wife, actress Valerie Bertinelli, responded to the tweet from their son Wolfgang Van Halen that announced the news. She later tweeted her own message, mourning Eddie's loss and referring to him as "my love."
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame CEO Greg Harris issued the following statement on Van Halen's death:
"Inductee Eddie Van Halen forever changed the vocabulary of the electric guitar. With blistering speed, control, and melodic feel, he perfected the art of shredding, unleashing two-handed finger tapping, dramatic whammy-bar moves, and other astonishing never-before-seen techniques. Innovative, like his hero Les Paul, Eddie reimagined the sonic possibilities of the guitar and became an inspiration for an entire generation of musicians who worshiped his sound and style. His band Van Halen kicked the American hard rock scene into high gear in the late Seventies, became rock heroes on MTV in the Eighties, and gave rise to a steady stream of shredders and trailblazers ever since."
Many fellow Rock & Roll Hall of Famers also expressed their grief and condolences after Van Halen's death.
Others in the music and entertainment industry weighed in as well.