Michael Anthony said he is “heartbroken” by the death of his former bandmate, Eddie Van Halen. The original bassist for the iconic rock band broke his silence on Van Halen’s death hours after it was reported that the guitar legend passed away at age 65 following a long battle with cancer.
Anthony, 66, paid tribute to Van Halen on Instagram with a series of photos from their days on the road.
In the caption to the three pics that showed the musicians jamming together in concert, Anthony told his social media followers that he is “heartbroken.” He offered no further words except to send his love to the Van Halen family.
In the comments section to the post, Anthony received messages from fans and famous friends, including Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang, who wrote. “Love you, brother.”
“So sorry Mike, amazing band and legacy,” wrote former Guns’ N Roses guitarist Matt Sorum.
“You guys changed the world,” added former Marilyn Manson guitarist John 5.
“The band that made every record sound like there was a Damn Party going on! Great American rock legends right there!” Anthrax alum Charlie Benante noted.
“I can’t imagine…God bless ya Mike, thx for your history lesson to us all,” added hard rock singer Jeff Scott Soto.
Other fans said that what Anthony and Eddie Van Halen created together will live forever, despite the in-fighting that took place between the two musicians in later years.
“As a fan I wish could have all thrown down together again a few times but it was not meant to be. Thank you for the timeless music.” one fan wrote.
Others called Anthony a “class act” as he mourned the loss of his former bandmate following years of drama between the two.
Anthony was the original bassist and backup vocalist for Van Halen, beginning in 1974. Decades later, he famously departed the group after an increasingly diminished role as bass player and he was ultimately replaced by Wolfgang Van Halen. He went on to play with Chickenfoot and Sammy Hagar and the Circle.
In a headline-making Billboard interview several years ago, Eddie Van Halen later said Anthony had a terrible singing voice and wasn’t that great of a bass player. He even said he had to teach his former bassist every note he played. Hagar later fired back to say Anthony was the most dedicated guy in the band.
Fans had hoped to see the long-estranged Van Halen bandmates reunite on stage someday.