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Eddie Van Halen, after many years of living with throat cancer that eventually spread to other organs, died this week at age 65.

Van Halen had been married to and then divorced actor and Food Network star Valerie Bertinelli. His death was an understandable shock to her and their son, Wolfgang.

Here’s what Bertinelli had to say.

Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen in 1983
Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen in 1983 | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Bertinelli’s emotional post to her ex-husband

Eddie Van Halen’s death was announced this week. He died after a lengthy battle with throat cancer, with which he was diagnosed in 2000.

He and actor Valerie Bertinelli married in 1981, had a son, Wolfgang, and divorced in 2007. While they parted ways, they remained friends, even attending one another’s subsequent weddings to new partners.

The One Day at a Time star posted on her Instagram and Twitter accounts a heartfelt and emotional message to her former husband.

Alongside a photograph of herself with an infant Wolfgang and Van Halen by her side, she wrote, “40 years ago my life changed forever when I met you. You gave me the one true light in my life, our son, Wolfgang. Through all your challenging treatments for lung cancer, you kept your gorgeous spirit and that impish grin.

“I’m so grateful Wolfie and I were able to hold you in your last moments. I will see you in our next life my love,” she concluded.

How Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli met

According to Bertinelli, in 1980, her brothers wanted to go see superstar rock band Van Halen and asked her to come along to help them get backstage and meet the band.

“I took a look at the 8-track cassette that was in the back of my Corvette,” she told Oprah Winfrey in 2008, “and I saw a picture of Ed, and I went, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ll be going. He’s a cutie.’”

After meeting Eddie Van Halen, she liked him even more. “You had to peel me off the floor,” she said. A few days later, Van Halen called her to get together. “So I went out and visited, and we never separated from then on.”

Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen at their wedding in 1981
Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen at their wedding in 1981 | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

The couple began their marriage as it eventually continued, with a great deal of alcohol and drugs.

“The priest we tapped to perform the ceremony gave us questionnaires so he could get to know us better and offer more personal words,” she said. “As we filled out the forms at home, we each held a little vial of cocaine. Now, if you ask me, those are not two people who should be making decisions about the rest of their lives.”

The pair married in 1981, separated in 2001, and finalized their divorce in 2007.

Their son Wolfgang toured regularly with his dad


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Wolfgang Van Halen, a guitarist as well like his father, starting touring with his father in 2004.

He posted on Twitter after his father’s passing.

“I can’t believe I’m having to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning,” he wrote.

“He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift. My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss. I love you so much, Pop.”