How Sammy Hagar Made Peace With Eddie Van Halen Before His Death
"Eddie and I had been texting, and it's been a love fest since we started communicating earlier this year," Hagar wrote. "We both agreed not to tell anyone, because of all the rumors it would stir up about a reunion, etc., and we both knew that wasn't gonna happen. But he also didn't want anyone to know about his health."
Hagar replaced David Lee Roth as Van Halen's singer in 1985, recording four straight No. 1 albums with the band before departing acrimoniously in 1996. After a brief, and by all accounts disastrous, reunion tour in 2004, Hagar left for good.
In the ensuing years, Hagar has alternated between attempts at reconciliation and sharp critiques of Eddie and his drummer brother Alex. After Eddie stated in 2015 that he had to reteach Michael Anthony his bass lines before each tour, Hagar unleashed a strong and profane rebuttal: "Michael Anthony is a bad motherfucker. Fuck you, Eddie Van Halen for saying that about Mikey. You're a liar."
A year later, Hagar wished Van Halen a happy birthday on Twitter and got a friendly reply. He later explained that the recent deaths of David Bowie and Glenn Frey gave him new perspective. "It just makes you stop and think that with my relationship with Eddie Van Halen and stuff that's always been in the toilet, it makes you say, 'I don't want to be buried with any regrets or bad vibes like that,'" said Hagar. "It makes you want to be just friends with everybody and say, 'Hey look, forget it.'"
Van Halen's son Wolfgang confirmed yesterday that his father had died at age 65 after a "long and arduous" battle with cancer. Rumors of the guitarist's ill health had steadily increased in recent years. When asked why the band's reportedly planned, but never announced, summer 2019 tour didn't take place, Roth said that Eddie was "probably not going to answer the bell this time."
Hagar said he lost touch with Van Halen again late this summer. "He stopped responding to me a month ago, and I figured it wasn't good," he noted. "I reached out one more time last week, and when he didn't respond, I figured it was a matter of time. But it came way too soon."
Soon after the news of Van Halen's death, Hagar posted a picture of the two together, declaring himself "heartbroken and speechless." In a comment made later to that same post, he thanked fans for their support and promised to eventually share the full story of his reconciliation with Van Halen.
"All the love pouring out from the fans and the news today is all too overwhelming," he said. "You can't imagine the thoughts burning through my brain, my heart, my soul right now. I just want to say, 'It's all good between Eddie and I.' I'll explain another time when this has digested."