Eddie Van Halen acknowledged for the first time on Thursday that he has cancer, and said he's winning his battle against the disease.
The Van Halen leader and guitar virtuoso said in a message posted on his band's official Web site (www.van-halen.com) that "although it's hard to say when, there's a good chance I will be cancer-free in the near future." "I'm sorry for having waited so long to address this issue personally. But cancer can be a very unique and private matter to deal with. So, I think it's about time to tell you where I'm at," Van Halen said in the statement.
"I was examined by three oncologists and three head and neck surgeons at Cedars-Sinai just before spring break and I was told that I'm healthier than ever and beating cancer." Van Halen, who is 46, did not divulge what kind of cancer he has. A publicist for the band at Warner Bros. Records confirmed the Web site statement came from the guitarist, but could provide no additional information.
Toshia Johnson, a spokesperson for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said she could not say whether Van Halen had been treated at the hospital.
Last May, a spokesperson for M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston denied reports that Van Halen had cancer, but said the guitarist was being treated in a cancer prevention program at the hospital (see "UPDATE: Van Halen Cancer Report Clarified").
The spokesperson, Jane Brust, said Friday that Van Halen continued that program over the last year, but hasn't been at the cancer center for several months. Doctors at that hospital have never diagnosed him with cancer, Brust said.
Former Van Halen singer David Lee Roth, who announced last week that he had recorded with Van Halen in July but hasn't heard from him since (see "Roth Says He Hasn't Heard From Van Halen Since Session In July"), said Friday that he was shocked to find out the guitarist is ill.
"I was stunned this morning to learn that Eddie Van Halen has cancer," Roth said in a statement posted on his official Web site (www.davidleeroth.com). "My condolences. You can whip this, champ. See ya down the road."