In an interview with People, KISS’ iconic bass guitarist Gene Simmons talked about the late Van Halen legend Eddie Van Halen and revealed the details of the heartbreaking moment he found out he had cancer.
As you may recall, the co-founder and renowned guitarist of Van Halen, Eddie sadly passed away at the age of 65 after a long and vicious battle with cancer. His son and the current bassist of Van Halen, Wolfgang shared the tragic news of his dad’s death with a statement on social media.
Recently, KISS’ bassist Gene Simmons joined a conversation with People and shared his opinions on the devastating loss of guitar master, Eddie Van Halen. During the interview, Gene revealed the very first time Eddie told him he got cancer and mentioned the desperation he felt at the moment by stating:
“I ran into Eddie on Sunset Boulevard. This was after he caught the disease and I didn’t know what to say to him. I didn’t want to bring up the subject. Should I grab him and hug him and tell him how sorry I am? Should I put my hand on his shoulder?
“He brought it up. He said, ‘Hey man, I got cancer. What are you gonna do…’ and he smiled. He just sort of shrugged. He was like, ‘Hey, wanna get a hot dog or something?’ And he just walked off – not looking for sympathy or anything. He really seemed to enjoy life…”
Furthermore, Simmons shared the details of his reaction at the time he found out Eddie Van Halen passed away and mentioned what a great personality he had.
Here’s what Gene Simmons stated:
“When I was shocked to find out Eddie had passed, the first image that hit me – so help me God – was Eddie Van Halen grinning from ear to ear with that big, huge, million-dollar smile.
He always had that on, whether he was on stage playing for packed houses or in videos or meeting a stranger. He just smiles and says, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ He would smile and his eyes would disappear. His cheeks would shoot up and they would take his whole face, like a little 12-year-old kid smiling when you’re not trying to impress anybody or you’re not aware of what you look like.
It was a full-face smile. It was catchy. It grabs you off-guard. He was unabashed and just comfortable in his own skin. I was not just amazed by his talent, but I admire him so much as a human being.”
Additionally, the KISS icon praised Eddie and his music legacy by mentioning his God-given talent and continued:
“Eddie was aware that he had this God-given talent, but I never saw him push that in anybody’s face. At the core, Eddie just seems to be a happy guy.
Every once in a while, God gets it right. He did a good job with Eddie Van Halen, I’ll tell you that. He was a far better man than I’ll ever be, that’s the truth.”
Click here to read the entire interview with Gene Simmons.