BUSH frontman Gavin Rossdale has reflected on the passing of Eddie Van Halen, saying he was a sweetheart and a “virtuoso” who put “decades” into his guitar playing. The legendary VAN HALEN axeman died on October 6 at the age of 65 after a long battle with cancer.

Speaking to Marci Wiser of the 95.5 KLOS radio station, Gavin said (hear audio below): “I only had the pleasure of his company one time. I went for dinner at someone’s house, and he was there at dinner, and I sat next to him. And he was a sweetheart. And he had his guitar with an amp in there and basically soloed through most of dinner. He stopped playing guitar when we were talking, but generally, he practiced a lot. He was a virtuoso, but a really good thing for people to know [is] that outside of his musical genius, he just put hours in, years, decades into playing, and that’s how he got so good. And it’s sort of a lesson for all of us, really, that our craft should be something that we tend to most of the time.”

Noting that Eddie was an “unbelievable talent,” Gavin continued: “What I do like about it is that the general consensus you get from him across the board of people was [everyone] saying what a kind and beautiful spirit [he was]. I mean, even his ex-wife was saying great things about him. Now, that’s an achievement. If I die tomorrow, don’t be counting on that shit. [Laughs]”

Eddie 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.

The iconic VAN HALEN axeman died from complications due to cancer, his son confirmed.

VAN HALEN was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked Eddie Van Halen No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.

After undergoing hip replacement surgery in 1999 due to a chronic joint problem, Eddie was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2000 and had to have part of his tongue surgically removed. He later battled throat cancer and reportedly had been receiving radiation treatment in Germany. It is believed that his heavy smoking over the years led to his long battle with cancer.