Sammy Hagar says that he had been secretly in contact with Eddie Van Halen in the months leading up to the legendary guitarist's death.
Hagar, who previously said he hadn't spoken to Eddie since since the conclusion of VAN HALEN's 2004 reunion tour, revealed his renewed friendship with his former bandmate in a note which was read over the air this morning (Wednesday, October 6) by radio personality Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show.
Hagar wrote: "Eddie and I had been texting, and it's been a love fest since we started communicating earlier this year. We both agreed not to tell anyone, because of all the rumors it would stir up about a reunion, et cetera, and we both knew that wasn't gonna happen. But he also didn't want anyone to know about his health."
Sammy continued: "He stopped responding to me a month ago, and I figured it wasn't good. I reached out one more time last week, and when he didn't respond, I figured it was a matter of time. But it came way too soon."
Hagar replaced David Lee Roth in VAN HALEN in 1985 and recorded four studio albums with the band — "5150", "OU812", "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" and "Balance" — all of which topped the U.S. chart.
Sammy, Eddie, drummer Alex Van Halen and bassist Michael Anthony last teamed up in 2004 for a U.S. summer tour. In exchange for taking part in the tour, Anthony reportedly had to agree to take a pay cut and sign away his rights to the band name and logo.
This past May, Hagar told Rolling Stone that he was very optimistic about the possibility of a reunion with his VAN HALEN bandmates. "I foresee it happening," he said. "I'm not trying to plant a seed like I know something is happening. I know nothing. I just know what I know in my heart and my head, which is that it has to happen. Whether it's Sam and Dave or not, I don't know that either," referring to the prospect of both him and original VAN HALEN frontman David Lee Roth the stage with Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang Van Halen. "But I know that Eddie and I are not done. If enough water goes under the bridge before we die, it'll happen. It has to. God is going to slap us both around if he has to."
Sammy went on to say that he didn't agree with Roth's recent assessment that the band was "finished."
"Until Ed or Alex Van Halen die, they're not finished," the 72-year-old rocker told Rolling Stone. "Those are two great musicians that can friggin' do as good as most people at half-mast. As a drummer and as a guitarist and creative person, Eddie, I can't see them ever being finished. I wish they were more active, but I think VAN HALEN will never be finished.
"If they want to get it together, they just have to call Dave or have to call Sammy," he added. "They can go out with [Eddie's son] Wolfie as a trio, but that's not the legacy of VAN HALEN. I think they know that."
Early last year, rumors were rampant that the classic-era lineup of VAN HALEN would reunite for the first time since 1984. It's unclear why the tour didn't happen, though there has been online chatter that a health setback involving Eddie might have been responsible.
Eddie died on Tuesday (October 6) at the age of 65. The legendary VAN HALEN guitarist died at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. His wife, Janie, was by his side, along with his son, Wolfgang, and Alex, Eddie's brother and VAN HALEN drummer.
Eddie died from complications due to cancer, his son confirmed.
The guitarist was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2000 and had tongue surgery. He was later diagnosed with throat cancer and reportedly had been receiving radiation treatment in Germany.