Slash has paid tribute to Eddie Van Halen, calling him "an amazing musician, guitar player, innovator and a hell of a guy."
The GUNS N' ROSES guitarist offered his comments on Tuesday (October 6) — the day of the legendary VAN HALEN guitarist's death — while he was in Elk Grove Village, Illinois to promote the new GN'R pinball game he helped design with Jersey Jack Pinball, a leading game designer that recently moved its factory to suburban Chicago.
"I'm just a little shocked," Slash told WGN News (see video below). "It's hard for me to verbally say anything, other than I'm just devastated. Eddie was really cool. And I've been talking to him — we've been texting. And I knew he was sick, but I didn't wanna ask him how sick he was. But he was in a hospital in L.A. for a while. And I knew [expletive] was up, but I didn't expect that today at all. So I'm floored."
Asked what he thinks Eddie's legacy will be, Slash said: "Eddie changed guitar playing. I picked up the guitar, I guess it was 1979, 1980. The first VAN HALEN record came out, and Steven Adler, who was GUNS N' ROSES' original drummer, when we were kids, we used to just hang out and ditch school and go to the pizza place and whatnot. And we used to listen to that first VAN HALEN record, and it was just insane. It was, like, 'What the [expletive]?'
"He changed guitar playing," Slash continued. "He was such an amazing musician, amazing guitar player, amazing innovator and just a hell of a guy. And we really lost a major contributor to rock and roll today."
Eddie died at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. His wife, Janie, was by his side, along with his son, Wolfgang, and Alex, Eddie's brother and VAN HALEN drummer.
The iconic VAN HALEN axeman died from complications due to cancer, his son confirmed.
Eddie and Alex formed VAN HALEN in 1972 in Pasadena, California, with David Lee Roth on lead vocals and Michael Anthony on bass.
VAN HALEN was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked Eddie Van Halen No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.
After undergoing hip replacement surgery in 1999 due to a chronic joint problem, Eddie was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2000 and had to have part of his tongue surgically removed. He later battled throat cancer and reportedly had been receiving radiation treatment in Germany.