Losing a Loved One to Cancer
- Wolfgang Van Halen, son of legendary rocker Eddie Van Halen, says a Van Halen tribute concert will likely never happen.
- However, in his own life, he does use his music to honor his late father.
- Eddie passed away in 2020 after a years-long battle with various forms of cancer.
- Life will inevitably look different after losing a loved one to cancer. But that doesn’t meant you can’t move forward in ways that honor their memory.
- With Caleb Farley, for example, he leans into the faith his late mother instilled in him.
Wolf has followed in his father’s musical footsteps and even named his solo band Mammoth WVH because it was the name of his father’s iconic band before it became Van Halen.
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He’s taken steps to honor his father’s career, but he recently said a Van Halen tribute concert for his father will likely never come to fruition, according to Guitar.com.
“I think with the Foo Fighters, they have a lot less drama involved in their camp,” he said referencing the Foo Fighters tribute concert for the band’s late member Taylor Hawkins.
“And unfortunately, with Van Halen there’s many pieces that don’t operate as they should, unfortunately. But that’s neither here nor there; it’s just how reality is, unfortunately, sometimes.”
While this news may be disappointing to longtime Van Halen fans, it may be comforting to know that Wolfgang has dedicated his life to honoring his beloved father through his own music.
Eddie Van Halen’s Health Battles
Eddie Van Halen battled various forms of cancer before his death on Oct. 6, 2020, at age 65. His first diagnosis came in the form of tongue cancer in 2000 when Wolfgang Van Halen was only nine years old.
He then underwent surgery to remove part of his tongue for treatment and achieved remission in 2002.
RELATED: Valerie Bertinelli, 63, Reveals How Eddie Van Halen Spoiled Her on Mother’s Day: The Adorable Dinners He’d Make That She Loved
Sadly, however, he was diagnosed with throat cancer around 2014, stage 4 lung cancer in 2017 and a brain tumor in 2019, among other things.
According to his death certificate, his cause of death was a cerebrovascular accident (stroke).
But the copy obtained by SurvivorNet listed pneumonia, lung cancer, myelodysplastic syndrome and squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck as underlying conditions.
Coping With Loss
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We don’t know what caused each of his diagnoses, but Eddie always claimed his throat cancer was caused by putting copper and brass guitar picks in his mouth for years. While there’s no sufficient evidence to back up that hypothesis, we do know that sustained heavy drinking, drug use and chain-smoking might have increased his risk for cancer.
Honoring a Late Cancer Warrior
Wolfgang Van Halen has previously talked about continuing the family legacy. Ahead of the release of his second album, “Mammoth II,” on Aug. 4, he spoke with Audacy Check In to explain how he honors his late father through his music.
“He’s the reason why I do what I do; I wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for him, so that’s certainly very important,” he said.
“I think just doing what I do is enough of a reference and tribute. Just me existing and continuing to be my own person in my own musical space, I don’t think people realize that me just doing that is enough of a tribute and respect towards the life that he gave me, and the interests that he instilled in me.
“I don’t have to play ‘Panama‘ in order to respect him, you know what I mean?”
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Life after loss will inevitably look different, no matter how you spin it. But that doesn’t mean you have to move forward without the memory of that person playing a role in your everyday life.
Take Caleb Farley, for example. After his mother bravely fought two breast cancer battles with multiple rounds of chemotherapy, she died in 2018. That meant she never got to see Caleb play in the NFL after he was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2021.
Even still, he makes sure to keep her memory alive by moving forward with all the lessons his “superhero” mom taught him.
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“My mother raised me to be very religious, very God-conscious. That’s been everything to me, and my life. That’s like the building blocks of my, of my life,” Farley told SurvivorNet.
“Anything that’s happened to me, any adversity, any good times, any bad times, I’ve always kind of stood on that rock of faith.
“I can’t thank her enough for how she raised me and because it was her who gave me all of that spiritually, she just filled my heart with love and joy. I’ve had a happy life because of her.”
If you are struggling with your emotional wellbeing after a cancer-related loss or for any other reason, consider taking a look at SurvivorNet’s resources on mental health.
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