Late guitar hero Eddie Van Halen was an inspiration to many, including his band's longtime manager Irving Azoff.
Following Van Halen's death on Tuesday at 65, the band's former manager shared some sweet words about the Van Halen co-founder.
“You get this image of this bombastic, incredible, loud prodigy,” Azoff, 72, told Pollstar. “But personally, he had a big heart. He did a lot of things for a lot of people that nobody knows about.”
One thing Van Halen will be remembered for is being a loving parent, Azoff said. (Van Halen shared son Wolf, 29, with ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli, 60.)
“I probably can’t speak as well as others have spoken over the last 24 hours as to Ed’s musical genius, but Ed the human being, especially as he had to come to grips with being human, really shined," Azoff said. "He was a great father.”
He also recognized Van Halen's resilience throughout his health struggles.
"The rock and roll life was the rock and roll life in the early years and obviously led to some of his health complications," he said. "But, I’ve never seen anybody fight the fight that [Van Halen] fought over the last 10 years, fighting the cancer."
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Van Halen, the band, was formed in Pasadena, Calif. in 1972. Through the years, the late rock and roll legend and his brother Alex, 67 — alongside a rotation of other bandmates including David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony — released 12 studio albums.
The group's final last album, A Different Kind of Truth, dropped in 2012.
“In my opinion, everybody contributed through the years, Dave [Roth] contributed, Sammy [Hagar] contributed, Wolfgang contributed, Michael [Anthony] contributed,” Azoff said. "Alex was the one mainstay through it all. Alex and Ed were inseparable.”
Azoff revealed that another Van Halen tour almost took place in 2019, but plans halted as Van Halen's health declined.
“We had lots of stops and starts, but there was every intention of doing a summer stadium tour," he said. "As the cancer moved around, [Van Halen] was physically unable to do it."
The manager also opened up about his bond with Van Halen, which he says grew stronger and became more personal in recent years.
“We were always close, but the past couple of years, when he was really unable to record or play, it became less a client, manager relationship and more just as a friend,” he said. “I really got to know him. He was an amazing guy, I can’t say enough good things about him.”
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