Van Halen fans weren’t the only people who were blindsided by the 2020 death of Eddie Van Halen; his former bandmate, Sammy Hagar, says he had “no idea” how sick the legendary guitarist was before his passing.
“I don’t think anyone realized how sick he was,” Hagar says. “And then when I started talking to him again, I would send him a call and he wouldn’t answer. I would send him a text and say, ‘Word man…’ — I used to call him ‘Word Man’ — ‘Word man,’ where are you, man? I’m trying to get a hold of you. You’re making me nervous.’ And about a day later, he’d get back and say, ‘Dude, I was in the hospital.’ I’d say, ‘Oh, god.’ It was funny. ‘Dude, I’m in the hospital. Give me some slack.'”
However, despite his illness, Van Halen’s guitar skills never waned, Hagar adds. “Eddie always played great,” he says. “That’s the thing that used to make me mad, ’cause he could drink as much as he wanted, do anything he wanted and come out there and still play good. I’d be going, ‘This guy is making me mad.'”
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