Ozzy Osbourne has paid tribute to Eddie Van Halen, who died on Tuesday (October 6) at the age of 65. The legendary VAN HALEN guitarist's death was confirmed by his son, VAN HALEN bassist Wolfgang Van Halen.
Ozzy told Rolling Stone: "The last time I spent any serious time with Eddie was on the last official BLACK SABBATH tour I did in '79, when they opened up for us. They were such good guys to be around. We had such fun. Every time I ever saw Eddie Van Halen, it was fun.
"I remember seeing Eddie do that finger-tapping thing, and that was the first time I'd ever seen anyone do that. Just when you think nobody can make guitar playing exciting, somebody like that comes out. He was one of them.
"That thing with finger-tapping in the 80s, with the hair bands, everybody was doing that finger tapping. Once you've seen the master do it, everyone else comes second. Anybody after Eddie Van Halen was in second, as far as I'm concerned."
Osbourne went on to say that the "one thing I loved about Eddie was he always had a big grin on his face, and he looked like he was enjoying every second he was up there. Whether it was showbiz bullshit or not — I don't think it was — he always looked like he was having the best time of his life up there."
Describing the late guitarist "a force to be reckoned with," Ozzy recalled one show they played with VAN HALEN in San Antonio where "they went on and blew the roof off. And we had to follow them. I mean, it was such a hard gig for us. To follow VAN HALEN, you'd go, 'Oh, fuck. No.' And after that tour, they took off."
Osbourne said that he "could sit and watch Eddie Van Halen play guitar all day. He's so entertaining as a guitar player. He made it look like it was not difficult. He made it look like it was a natural thing. Everybody else was trying to be Eddie Van Halen, but there is only one Eddie Van Halen. I thought he was brilliant. God only knows, what you have to do to get that good."
According to TMZ, Eddie died at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. His wife, Janie, was by his side, along with Wolfgang, and Alex, Eddie's brother and VAN HALEN drummer.
The site reports that Eddie's ongoing health battle went massively downhill in the last 72 hours, with doctors discovering his cancer had moved to his brain as well as other organs.
There have been a lot of rumors regarding the VAN HALEN guitarist's supposedly worsening health, with TMZ reporting recently that Van Halen has been traveling between the U.S. and Germany for cancer treatment going on several years now.
Last November, TMZ reported that Eddie spent several days in a hospital due to complications from his cancer treatment. Sources close to the legendary guitarist told the site he was admitted to the hospital with intestinal issues and abdominal pain, both the result of a bad reaction to the drugs Eddie was reportedly taking to battle throat cancer.