Rocker Sammy Hagar, who spent two contentious but successful stints with the band Van Halen before tensions with Eddie Van Halen forced him out, says he and the guitar virtuoso had reconciled before the music legend's death on Tuesday.
On Howard Stern's SiriusXM radio show Wednesday, the host said, "I tried to get in touch with Sammy yesterday. Sammy didn't want to come on the air today … he says he's not up to talking in person, but he did send me this note, so I'll share it with you."
The Roosevelt- and Rockville Centre-raised Stern, 66, then recited the short letter from Hagar, who turns 73 on Tuesday: " 'I would love you to share that Eddie and I had been texting, and it's been a lovefest since we started communicating earlier this year. 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 going to happen. But he also didn't want anyone to know about his health.' "
Hagar's letter went on to say that Eddie Van Halen "stopped responding to me a month ago, and I figured it wasn't good. 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.' " The guitarist died at age 65.
On Tuesday, Hagar posted on social media a photo of himself and Eddie Van Halen side by side in what appears to be a tour plane, both smiling, the latter's arm draped around Hagar's shoulder. "Heartbroken and speechless," Hagar wrote. "My love to the family." Van Halen bassist Wolfgang Van Halen, 29, Eddie's son with first wife Valerie Bertinelli, commented on Hagar's Instagram account, "Much love to you, Sam."
Hagar was already an established music star, both solo and as former frontman of the band Montrose, when he became Van Halen's lead singer in 1985 after David Lee Roth's departure. In 1996, tensions between Hagar and Eddie Van Halen led to Hagar's departure. He rejoined the band in 2004 for a successful North American tour, but left a year later.
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As members of the band Van Halen, Hagar and Eddie Van Halen were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, along with original lead singer Roth, Eddie Van Halen's percussionist brother Alex and original bassist Michael Anthony.
OLDER BROTHER MOURNS. On Thursday, Alex Van Halen said in a statement obtained by People magazine, "Hey, Ed. Love you. See you on the other side. Your brother, Al." The 67-year-old drummer also shared a black-and-white photo of the brothers as children.
Eddie Van Halen's last Instagram post celebrated his older brother's birthday. The May 8 missive shared a more recent image of the siblings, arms around each other, alongside the caption: "Happy Birthday Al!! Love Ya!!"
An ordained minister, Alex Van Halen presided over his younger brother's 2009 wedding to Janie Liszewski. He also officiated the 2011 marriage of former sister-in-law Bertinelli to financial planner Tom Vitale. (Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen wed in 1981, separated in 2001 and eventually divorced in 2007. They had son Wolfgang in 1991.)