Eddie Van Halen’s Son Wolfgang Blasts ‘Disgusting’ ‘Autopsy’ Documentary, Reelz Responds

Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang Van Halen isn’t mincing words when it comes to his feelings about Reelz’s upcoming documentary about his father’s death. He called the special, which is scheduled to air June 5, “disgusting.” But the cable network is defending its choice to air Autopsy: The Last Hours of… Eddie Van Halen, which examines the circumstances surrounding the guitarist’s October 2020 death.

Eddie Van Halen’s son calls documentary ‘pathetic and heartless’

Eddie Van Halen next to his son Wolfgang Van Halen, both playing guitar
Wolfgang Van Halen with his father Eddie Van Halen in 2012 | Kevin Mazur/WireImage

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Wolfgang took to Twitter on June 1 to express his outrage over the documentary. 

F*** @ReelzChannel, f*** everyone that works on this show, and f*** you if you watch it,” he wrote. “F***ing disgusting trying to glamorize someone’s death from cancer. Pathetic and heartless.”

“Good Christ this is disgusting,” Wolfgang’s mother and Eddie Van Halen’s ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli wrote in response to her son’s tweet. 

Eddie Van Halen died Oct. 6, 2020 at age 65. “My father … lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning,” Wolfgang said in a statement shared on Twitter after his death. “He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I shared with him on and off stage was a gift.” Wolfgang played bass in Van Halen starting in 2006.

Reelz defends ‘Autopsy’ series, says it ‘responsibly explores … the passing of well-known and genuinely loved celebrities’

In a statement, Reelz defended the Autopsy: The Last Hours of… series. It said that previous episodes had received praise from viewers and drawn attention to various health issues, such as eating disorders and opioid addiction. 

Autopsy: The Last Hours of… responsibly explores the circumstances of the passing of well-known and genuinely loved celebrities who the public cares about immensely,” the network said. 

The statement went on to say: 

The Reelz series generates much feedback from our viewers ranging from medical professionals who praise its scientific accuracy, fans who tell us it provides closure or that they have become more proactive for the benefit of their health and many who gain helpful perspective of health issues that might not otherwise receive attention like Karen Carpenter who brought anorexia into the public consciousness, Prince whose passing focused attention on the opioid epidemic, and Luke Perry whose passing renewed attention to strokes that affect people of all ages.

Eddie Van Halen documentary will look at what caused the guitarist’s ‘untimely death’

Eddie Van Halen playing guitar on stage at a 1984 concert in Detroit
Eddie Van Halen | Ross Marino/Getty

Reelz’s hour-long documentary will examine the life and death of the “rock prodigy with boyish charm,” according to the network. 

Per the episode description: “Eddie died at the age of 65 from cancer but if caught early Eddie’s disease had reasonable survival rates so what exactly happened? Now renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter will analyze every detail of his life in order to piece together what else may have been going on in his body, ultimately leading to his untimely death.” 

Autopsy: The Last Hours of… Eddie Van Halen airs Sunday, June 5 at 8 p.m. ET. It will be followed at 9 p.m. ET by Van Halen: The Story of Their Songs. The special “explores six key songs that helped make them rock music titans.”

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