Every year for more than a decade, The National Guitar Museum has given its “Lifetime Achievement Award” to a living guitarist who has contributed to the legacy of the guitar. The guidelines are straightforward: the person must have been a performing or recording artist whose talents had an effect on guitar playing — and whose career inspired and influenced other guitar players.

This year, the year of the pandemic, has given The National Guitar Museum reason to make an exception to its annual presentation.

For 2020, The National Guitar Museum is recognizing Eddie Van Halen as the recipient of its “Lifetime Achievement Award.” It is being awarded, for the first time, in memoriam.

The National Guitar Museum says: “It is perhaps fitting that we don’t need to explain why Eddie is deserving of such an honor everyone who has ever heard his guitar playing knows. Eddie certainly would have received this award at some point in the future, as it seemed that he still had a lifetime of guitar greatness to give.

“Several of the people we’ve honored over the past decade have left us in the years since we presented them with the award. In this case, however, the sadness of Eddie Van Halen‘s passing is somehow harder to accept.

“Thanks, Eddie. We only wish we could deliver this in person.”

The National Guitar Museum was founded to promote and preserve the legacy of the guitar. It is the world’s first museum dedicated to the history, evolution, and cultural impact of the guitar.

The goal of The National Guitar Museum is to create the first institution devoted exclusively to the evolution, history, science, and cultural impact of the guitar.

Eddie died on October 6 at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Following his death, fans left flowers at his childhood home on Las Lunas Street in Pasadena, California. Additional flowers, candles and fan mementos were placed on Allen Avenue where Eddie and his brother, VAN HALEN drummer Alex, scratched their band’s name into the wet cement of a sidewalk when they were teenagers.

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.