Eddie van Halen started his musical career on the piano, switched to the drums and ended up as one of the most influential guitarists of all time.

The Dutch-American guitarist died on Tuesday from the effects of throat cancer.

NU.nl pays attention to his legacy.

Eddie van Halen was born in Amsterdam on January 26, 1955, to a Dutch father and an Indonesian-Dutch mother.

He also has an older brother, Alex van Halen.

When he is eight he moves with his family to California in the United States.

Both Eddie and Alex are naturalized as US citizens.

The brothers grow up in a musical environment and at the age of six they receive piano lessons.

But the piano cannot fascinate them enough and Eddie later tells in interviews that he never learned to read notes.

When Alex starts playing guitar after a few years, Eddie buys a drum kit.

He practices for hours every day.

But after


Alex's performance of the drum solo in

The Surfaris


Wipe Out,


decides to switch instruments.

As a teenager he often practiced sitting in his room for hours with the door locked.

Van Halen is a commercial success

After playing in different bands, the brothers form a new band in 1972, which they rename as Van Halen two years later.

In the years that followed, Van Halen became a major band on the Los Angeles music scene, and in 1977 Warner Bros.

Records Van Halen signed a record deal.

In 1978 the band released its first self-titled album, which reached the nineteenth spot on the Billboard pop music chart.

This makes it one of the most commercially successful rock debut albums.

The group dominated much of the eighties with hits like

Runnin 'with the Devil




Hot for Teacher



, and



The 1984 album goes five times platinum within a year.

The lead single


is the band's first and only number 1 pop hit and earns them a Grammy nomination.

All credit for guitar techniques

In 1992 the band won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocals for the album

For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge


In January 2007 the band will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

As of March 2019, the band is 20th on the RIAA's list of best-selling artists in the United States with 56 million albums sold.

Worldwide, more than 80 million Van Halen records have been sold.

The musician is considered one of the most influential guitarists of all time.

His solos on songs like



Runnin 'with the Devil

and his guitar solo


influence many other guitarists today.