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Eddie Van Halen’s ill health thwarted plans for Van Halen to bow out with a final stadium tour in 2019

Dave Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen onstage at the US Festival
(Image credit: Paul Natkin / Getty Images)

As tributes continue to pour in for Van Halen’s gifted bandleader Eddie Van Halen, who passed away on October 6 aged 65 following a lengthy battle with cancer, the band’s long-time manager Irving Azoff has revealed that the Pasadena quartet’s ‘classic’ line-up – vocalist David Lee Roth, bassist Michael Anthony, drummer Alex Van Halen and his younger brother Eddie – planned to reunite for a farewell stadium tour in 2019 before it became obvious that the physical demands involved would be too much for the ailing guitarist.

“We had lots of stops and starts, but there was every intention of doing a summer stadium tour [in 2019],” Azoff revealed in a new interview with live music industry website Pollstar, adding: “As the cancer moved around, [Eddie Van Halen] was physically unable to do it.”

Such was the regard in which Van Halen are held by their peers, that Metallica and Foo Fighters, stadium-filling bands in their own right, had agreed to back the Californian hard rock legends on their last hurrah. “There is no doubt in my mind that it would have been massive,” says Azoff.

With regard to Eddie Van Halen’s legacy, Azoff admits, “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. He was a great father.”

“You get this image of this bombastic, incredible, loud, prodigy, but personally, he had a big heart. He did a lot of things for a lot of people that nobody knows about.”

Asked about the possibility of posthumous releases from the Van Halen vaults in the wake of Eddie’s passing, Azoff says it’s much too early to speculate. “Wolf [Eddie’s son Wolfgang] and Alex will go up to 5150, the studio in Ed’s house, but there’s been a lot of recording over the years. I can’t predict that for sure there will be anything new, but for sure they’re going to look at it.”

Ex-Van Halen duo Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony have also shared their thoughts on the death of their former colleague in a video message titled ‘We Love You Eddie’.

Speaking in the video, recorded on October 7, Hagar admitted to being “devastated” by the 65-year-old guitarist’s death.

“The music will live forever,” he notes. ‘I’ll sing it as long as I live.”