TOTO guitarist Steve Lukather has confirmed that "health issues" are at least partly to blame for VAN HALEN's summer touring plans not materializing this year.
A longtime friend of Eddie Van Halen, Lukather addressed the rumors about the iconic guitarist's physical well-being just days before singer David Lee Roth said in an interview that he believes the classic lineup of VAN HALEN is over.
Lukather was asked about VAN HALEN's status during an appearance on a recent episode of "The Eddie Trunk Podcast". He said: "I love Ed and Alex [Van Halen]; they've been friends of mine for 40 years. I'm still friends with Mike [Anthony]. I love all those guys. I'm Switzerland, man. I don't get in the middle of all that.
"I look you right in the eye and say, listen, I've been in contact with Ed. We text all the time. I really can't say much, man. I don't wanna say anything.
"Everybody wants VAN HALEN back — nobody more than me, 'cause I still think they're one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time," he continued. "Eddie changed the planet [with his guitar playing].
"Him and Alex are sitting there laying back and they're waiting to see what happens next. I think they're on a hiatus. There's been some health issues that they're dealing with and stuff like that. We're older guys now, and to go on the road, and stuff like that, it requires a lot of extra effort in terms of as a human being.
"All I'm gonna say is I don't think there's any drama issues that are keeping them from working right now," Steve added. "I'm not the guy to say anything. I love those brothers so much and we've always had a great relationship. I'm a big fan and also adore them as human beings."
VAN HALEN last performed on October 4, 2015 at L.A.'s Hollywood Bowl. In August, during a chat with Phoenix's KSLX, Roth declared "I'm the face of VAN HALEN from this point on, most likely. I'm not sure what's happening with Ed, but he's probably not gonna answer the bell this time. It's not my place to guess."
Earlier this year, rumors were rampant that the classic-era lineup of VAN HALEN would reunite for the first time since 1984. It's unclear why the tour didn't happen, though there has been online chatter that a health setback involving Eddie Van Halen might have been responsible.
The guitarist was treated for tongue cancer in 2000, resulting in surgery which removed a third of his tongue. He was declared cancer-free in 2002.
In 2012, Eddie Van Halen underwent emergency surgery, having been suffering from a severe case of diverticulitis. The disease is a digestive disorder which involves an inflammation and infection of the colon.
Roth reunited with VAN HALEN in 2007 after 23 years apart and released a comeback album, "A Different Kind Of Truth", in 2012.