Kenny Chesney Remembers Eddie Van Halen as ‘a Friend and Hero’

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Kenny Chesney called Van Halen co-founder Eddie Van Halen a friend and a hero. The country singer reminisced about sharing the stage with the legendary rock guitarist on Tuesday (Oct. 6), shortly after news of Van Halen’s death broke online.

Van Halen and brother Alex joined Chesney and his band onstage at a show in Los Angeles, Calif., the country superstar remembers in a touching Facebook post. According to CMT, the sibling rockers jammed their own hit “Jump” and the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” during the June 7, 2006, show at the Home Depot Center.

“It was one of the highlights of my touring life in all my summers on the road,” Chesney writes on Facebook, sharing photos from backstage:

“I will never forget that night and how happy we both were that our musical paths crossed that night on stage,” the singer adds. There’s a brief video clip on YouTube from the show as well:

Van Halen was 65 when he died on Tuesday, after a lengthy battle with cancer. The news “devastated” Chesney, the star writes, calling the guitarist “a friend and a hero to anyone who has ever picked up a guitar and had a dream.”

“Rest In Peace to the best guitar player that ever lived,” Chesney adds. “We will miss you Eddie Van Halen. Your music will live forever!!”

Van Halen had been fighting cancer since 2000, when he had about one-third of his tongue removed because of the disease, Ultimate Classic Rock reports. He was declared cancer-free in 2002 but was later diagnosed with cancer in his esophagus in 2011.

Country Artists Remember Eddie Van Halen:

Beginning with their debut album in 1978, Van Halen earned a legacy as one of the biggest rock bands ever. Though the band’s lineup changed throughout the years, Eddie and his brother remained constant members. The band joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Beyond Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen is also known for playing the guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” He leaves behind a son, Wolfgang Van Halen, and a wife, Janie Liszewski, to whom he had been married since 2009.

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