Fans were left reeling on October 6, 2020 when it was confirmed that legendary rocker Eddie Van Halen had died of cancer. Still, it’s safe to say that nobody was more upset than Eddie’s only child, his son Wolfgang Van Halen.
“I can’t believe I have to write this but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning,” Wolfgang wrote somberly tweet along with a photo of his famous father. “He was the best dad I could ever ask for… My heart is broken and I don’t think I will ever fully recover from this loss. I love you so much Pop.”
But what was the father and son relationship really like before Eddie’s tragic death? And how does Wolfgang continue to honor his late father? Grab a Kleenex and get ready for a good scream…
Eddie and Wolfgang Van Halen bonded through music
While it’s no secret that Eddie Van Halen had a long and illustrious career in the music industry, he was always adamant that he would not force his son to follow in his footsteps.
“I’ll let Wolfgang be what he wants,” Eddie vowed when his son Wolfgang Van Halenn was just four years old (via The Things). “I don’t see how he won’t be interested in music in some way if he’s exposed to it all the time. But I’m not going to force him to play the piano or take music lessons like my parents did to me,” he claimed. And yet Wolfgang did just that. In the end, the decision would turn out to forge a lifelong bond between father and son. “Wolfgang breathes new life into what we do,” the proud dad once gushed to Guitar World (via MusicRadar) of his teenage son joining Van Halen. “He brings youthfulness to something that is inherently youthful. He’s only been playing bass for three months, but it’s creepy. It is tightly closed and brings an incredible twist to our s***. That boy kicks my ass!” he declared playfully.
And as it turns out, music also helped Wolfgang cope with his grief after losing his father…
Wolfgang Van Halen honored his late father with a song
After the tragic death of his father, Wolfgang Van Halen did what he and his father had always done: he turned to music.
Just weeks after Eddie Van Halen’s death, Wolfgang released a song in honor of his late father, aptly titled “Distance.” “Chuck, my editor, really did a wonderful job putting together all the footage I gave him for the video,” Wolfgang told MusicRadar of the touching single. “I wrote this song around the same time as everything else on the album, around 2015. My dad’s health has been up and down. I wanted to end this emotional struggle I guess. I kind of imagined how different life would be on the other side of something like that,” he explained.
“Music is a really therapeutic thing,” he also revealed in a candid interview with People in June 2021. “And being able to focus on that and just pay tribute to my dad and our relationship has been a really helpful thing for me to do.” mourn that way,” he continued of his grieving process. “I’m an extension of him and I’m just happy to be here to spread the good word about who he was and how he should be remembered. RIP Eddie Van Halen.