Wolfgang Van Halen slams TV show about his fathers death and anyone who might watch it

Wolfgang Van Halen and Dr Michael Hunter headshots
(Image credit: EX1 Records/Reelz)

Wolfgang Van Halen has reacted angrily to news that the upcoming episode of Autopsy: The Last Hours Of..., a documentary show broadcast on US TV network Reelz that investigates the death of celebrities, is devoted to his father. Eddie Van Halen died in 2020 after a long battle with cancer.

The show, which is presented by Dr. Michael Hunter, Chief Medical Examiner in San Joaquin County, California, has previously broadcast shows about the deaths of a number of musicians including Tom Petty, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Chris Cornell, Gregg Allman, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Prince, Kurt Cobain, Dennis Wilson, George Harrison, and Scott Weiland.  

Reelz' description of the show, which remarks that Van Halen was "surprisingly an immigrant", goes on to outline his career before referring to the late guitarist's health battles.

"Often relying on alcohol and other substances to maintain his creativity, Eddie would spend many years in and out of rehab," they say. "He was a workaholic, often pushing his body to the limits in order to perform while secretly battling illness. Eddie died at the age of 65 from cancer. But if caught early, Eddie’s disease had reasonable survival rates. 

"So what happened? World renowned forensic pathologist, Dr. Michael Hunter needs to analyse every detail of Eddie Van Halen’s life in order to piece together what else may have been going on in his body, ultimately leading to his untimely death."

Wolfgang Van Halen has slammed the show, taking to twitter to react to Blabbermouth's reporting of the story. "Fuck Reelz," he wrote. "Fuck everyone that works on this show, and fuck you if you watch it. Fucking disgusting trying to glamourise someone’s death from cancer. Pathetic and heartless."

The cause of Eddie Van Halen's death was confirmed by the Los Angeles Department of Public Health in December 2020. The death certificate cited the immediate cause as a cerebrovascular accident, or stroke. He also had several underlying causes, including pneumonia, the bone marrow disorder myelodysplastic syndrome, lung cancer and skin cancer.

Reelz have launched a teaser video for the episode, which you can watch below (available to US-based viewers only). The show is broadcast on Reelz at 5pm Eastern on June 5, and repeated at 10pm. 

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.