KISS bassist Gene Simmons has opened up to People about the death of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen.
Gene said: “When I was shocked to find out Eddie had passed, the first image that hit me — so help me God — was Eddie Van Halen grinning from ear to ear with that big, huge, million-dollar smile. He always had that on, whether he was onstage playing for packed houses or in videos or meeting a stranger. He just smiles and says, ‘Hey, how you doing?’
“He would smile and his eyes would disappear. His cheeks would shoot up and they would take his whole face, like a little 12-year-old kid smiling when you’re not trying to impress anybody or you’re not aware of what you look like. It was a full-face smile. It was catchy. It grabs you off-guard.”
“He was unabashed and just comfortable in his own skin,” Simmons continued. “I was not just amazed by his talent, but I admire him so much as a human being. Eddie was aware that he had this God-given talent, but I never saw him push that in anybody’s face. At the core, Eddie just seems to be a happy guy.
“Every once in a while, God gets it right. He did a good job with Eddie Van Halen, I’ll tell you that. He was a far better man than I’ll ever be. That’s the truth.”
Eddie died on October 6 at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California, after long battle with cancer. “Alex was by his side, as were Eddie‘s wife, Janie, and son, Wolfgang.
Eddie‘s death was confirmed by his son, and VAN HALEN bassist, Wolfgang Van Halen.
Wolfgang wrote on social media: “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,” he added.
“I love you so much, Pop.”