Sammy Hagar, Gene Simmons, Lenny Kravitz and More Mourn Eddie Van Halen, the ‘Mozart of Rock Guitar’

Among those weighing in with tributes: Tom Morello, Keith Urban, Geezer Butler, Flea, Brian Wilson and Mark Hamill.

The range of musicians, actors, directors and creatives around the globe publicly mourning the loss of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen demonstrates how far his music and his talent reached. In the hour after his death was announced, Twitter was filled with tributes not just from musicians like former bandmate Sammy Hagar, Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx, Lenny Kravitz and Billy Idol, but also director and fellow Californian Ava DuVernay (posted a video tribute) and even “Star Wars” actor Mark Hamill.

His son, Wolfgang Van Halen, posted this tribute on trailer. “He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift.” His mother Valerie Bertinelli, who was married to Eddie from 1981 to 2007 retweeted Wolfgang’s statement.

Bandmate David Lee Roth tweeted a black-and-white photo of him with Van Halen, with the simple caption “What a Long Great Trip It’s Been.”

Former frontman Sammy Hagar posted a picture on a plane with Van Halen stating he was “heartbroken and speechless.”

Kiss cofounder Gene Simmons, an early booster of Van Halen, said “Eddie was not only a guitar god, but a genuinely beautiful soul.”

Mötley Crüe member Nikki Sixx called Van Halen the “Mozart of rock guitar.”

Fellow guitarist Lenny Kravitz memorialized Eddie Van Halen with a black and white photo showing the musicians famous shirtless bandanna look mid jump splits. “Heaven will be electric tonight,” Kravitz wrote.

Billy Idol posted a collage of images of the two together and Van Halen performing on stage. “We will miss you” he wrote.

Flea (Michael Peter Balzary) called the Los Angeles musician a true rocker. The founding member of the Hot Chili Peppers hoped that Van Halen would “jam with Jimi tonight” on Twitter.

Black Sabbath cofounders Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, who had the bad luck to have Van Halen open for them in 1978, paid tribute as well:

Metallica, who did a U.S. stadium tour with Van Halen in 1988, paid collective tribute:


Queen guitarist Brian May, who enlisted Eddie for his Star Fleet project in the early ’80s, credited him with a “new kind of playing.”


Country superstar Keith Urban, who’s heralded as one of the premiere guitar players in the genre, wrote, “This hit me hard. There are lots of great guitar players in the world, but very, VERY few true innovators. Players who seem to have arrived from a far distant planet , and who bring a completely new color to the rainbow. Eddie Van Halen was this and so much more. Even without the finger tapping, you had a player with extraordinary touch, tone, and a rhythmic pocket and bounce that floated like Ali in the ring. He was a master of complex solos that spoke to non-musicians… THAT IS HARD TO DO. The reason was the exquisite melody in his heart, and the joy in his soul of playing FOR people – and it came through like a ray of sun we ALL felt.” 

Director and producer Ava DuVernay posted a broken heart and a live performance of “Love Walks In.”

Mark Hamill replied to Wolfgang’s announcement of his father’s passing, urging him to “take solace in knowing that he will be long remembered and live on forever as one of Rock’s most extraordinary guitar virtuosos.”

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello called Van Halen “one of the greatest musicians in the history of mankind.”


Beach Boys cofounder and songwriter Brian Wilson weighed in about his fellow Angeleno.

Country superstar Kenny Chesney, no mean guitarist himself, called Van Halen “the best guitar player that ever lived.”

“Ghostbusters” and “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig recalled the first time he heard “Eruption” as a teen, “My mind never recovered. RIP Eddie. And also Rest In Rock.”

Skid Row frontman and “Gilmore Girls” actor Sebastian Bach looked back on the double loss the music world faced in 2020 “Eddie Van Halen and Neil Peart were just too good for 2020,” Bach wrote.

Veteran Canadian rockers Nickelback posted a lengthy tribute.


Comedian Dane Cook also responded to Wolfgang’s heartfelt tribute.

“Gremlins” actor Zach Galligan reminisced about a backstage encounter with the legend.