Sammy Hagar says that he was in contact with Eddie Van Halen "almost weekly" in the months leading up to the legendary guitarist's death.
Hagar, who previously said he hadn't talked to Eddie since the conclusion of VAN HALEN's 2004 reunion tour, discussed his former bandmate in a new interview with "Mark & Neanderpaul" of the 100.7 KSLX radio station.
Regarding how he reconnected with Eddie, Sammy said: "A mutual friend of ours, George Lopez, who's a comedian, called me and said, 'Sam, you've gotta call Ed. He's not doing good. And he loves you. You guys have to do something.' George was looking to try to put the band back together and all that. So I said, 'Oh, man. Are you kidding me? I went through his brother. I tried to go through everybody. Tell Eddie I hope he's doing well. I'd love to speak with him, come and see him, whatever.' So all of a sudden, George says, 'Here's his phone number. Call him.' I picked up the phone, and we were texting and talking almost weekly — I would say, honestly, weekly since the beginning of the year. And [it was] nothing but a love fest. [He was] talking about how great Wolfie [Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen] is doing with his new record. He sent me some music long before it came out."
Sammy went on to say that he was comforted by the fact that he made peace with Eddie before the influential rocker's death.
"If that wouldn't have happened, I would be devastated much worse than I already am," Sammy said. "It was horrible news. There's never a good time to hear news like that, when a loved one passes. It was tough to deal with, but, honestly, the music is what pulled me through."
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, Alex and Michael 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.
In his autobiography, "Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock", Hagar slammed Eddie, saying the guitarist was unkempt, hunched over, frighteningly skinny, drinking wine straight out of a bottle, missing part of his tongue (after a cancer scare) and several teeth. He told an interviewer in 2012: "What happened on that reunion tour in '04 was some of the most miserable, back-stabbing dark crap I've ever been involved with my whole life."
In a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Eddie questioned an "embellished" portion of "Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock" that painted the guitarist as a "very angry drunk" during the group's 2004 reunion tour.
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 October 6 at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. His wife, Janie, was by his side, along with Wolfgang and Alex.
Eddie died from complications due to cancer, his son confirmed.
The guitarist was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2000 and had tongue surgery. He later battled throat cancer and reportedly had been receiving radiation treatment in Germany.