Sammy Hagar's Regrets
- Former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar is feeling bad about writing about the “darker side” of Eddie Van Halen who died following a battle with throat cancer last year at age 65.
- During an appearance on Inside With Paulo Baron, Sammy Hagar aired his regrets, saying if he wrote the book today, he would have only included “the good” of the late rock icon.
- One major cause of throat cancer is the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which both men and women can get. The sexually transmitted virus can cause a handful of other cancers.
When asked if there were any stories that he wishes he included or excluded in his 2011 book Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock, he said “more than anything, because of the untimely and tragic death of Eddie Van Halen, I apologize from the bottom of my heart for exposing his dark side to where I don’t think anyone wants to hear that now, and, unfortunately, it’s in the book.”
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Things would have been different after EVH’s tragic passing.
“If I wrote the book today, I would only put the good of Eddie Van Halen, because he was such a brilliant, genius guitar player and such a great friend and a great partner – until everything went wrong, like everything else,” he shared. “Anybody’s that’s been divorced or broke up with your girlfriend or your boyfriend, you know how it goes. Happy endings aren’t always the case in a relationship.”
Hagar expressed that they had somewhat of a happy ending but reiterated that there were different sides to Eddie, after all, he’s human. Maybe superhuman according to some fans: He was the ultimate rock hero.
“If we’d have known he was sick then, then I would have understood and I would have been a little more, ‘Hey, Ed, come on,’ try to reel him in. But he was impossible. He was on a track of just – wild. It was tough.”
Hagar addressed Van Halen’s sweet demeanor.
“I thought, ‘How can this guy play so badass and be that humble?’ I thought, ‘It’s impossible. He must have a fire inside of him that he’s not showing.’ And when that fire came out, it was quite the fire – a freakin’ volcano.”
Natalie D’Annibale, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, tells SurvivorNet that grief is a complex emotion.
“Reconciliation within interpersonal relationships may or may not benefit the survivor at the time of a family member’s or former friend’s passing,” she says.
She explains that it is normal to experience feelings of remorse or regret if the survivor had caused emotional (or physical) harm to the person who died, particularly if apologies were not extended to and/or apologies were not accepted by the deceased.
Eddie’s Cancer Battle
Eddie was initially diagnosed with tongue cancer in 2000. He had part of his tongue removed as a result of his treatment and was in remission in 2002. But some of the cancerous cells traveled from his tongue to his throat, and Eddie was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014. Additionally, he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2017 after he couldn’t stop coughing. His son Wolfgang, who just released his first album, said Eddie had been “responding well to the medical treatment he was receiving in Germany following his diagnosis.” Unfortunately, his health took a turn for the worse during the pandemic and we lost another music hero.
Eddie had admitted that he started smoking and drinking when he was only 12 years old, and once mentioned the cancer could have been caused from the copper and brass guitar picks he put in his mouth during his decades-long music career.
The two primary causes of throat cancer include smoking and excessive drinking.
There are no annual screenings for throat cancer like other types of cancer, but for lung cancer, at-risk patients who have a past or present history of smoking can get screened early.
Symptoms of throat cancer may include vocal changes, coughing, trouble swallowing, ear pain, a lump or sore in the throat that won’t heal, unexplained weight loss and a persistent sore throat. For lung cancer, coughing is a primary symptom, along with shortness of breath and chest pain.
Causes of Throat Cancer
Another cause of throat cancer is HPV, or the human papillomavirus. A lot of people don’t know that human papillomavirus can cause cancer – or assume that it can only cause cervical cancer, because that’s the cancer that’s talked about the most. But HPV can cause a handful of other cancers.
Cancers in the back of the throat are often caused by tobacco and alcohol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but recent studies have indicated that as many as 60-70% of these throat cancers may be linked to HPV – or caused by a combination of HPV, alcohol and tobacco.
Dr. Jessica Geiger, a medical oncologist at Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center, spoke with SurvivorNet about this difficult disease.
“There are no screening guidelines to screen for throat cancer, unlike cervical cancer with pap smears,” says Dr. Geiger. “There are no standard tests to determine if you harbor the virus.”
However, HPV-related throat cancer is generally responsive to a combination of radiation and chemotherapy treatments, according to Dr. Geiger. “The cure rates for people who have HPV-related disease are a lot higher than those who have tobacco-related throat cancer.”