Eddie Van Halen's influence loomed large and when the sad news of his death spread earlier this afternoon, tributes poured in from all corners of music. You can read tributes from former VH singers David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar and bassist Michael Anthony, as well as Slash, KISS' Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, The Who's Pete Townshend, Aerosmith, AC/DC's Angus Young, Metallica, Pantera, Motley Crue's Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx, Skid Row's Sebastian Bach, Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi & Geezer Butler, Anthrax's Scott Ian, Judas Priest's Rob Halford, Tool's Adam Jones, Testament's Alex Skolnick, Machine Head's Robb Flynn, Deep Purple/Whitesnake's David Coverdale, Twisted Sister's Dee Snider, Megadeth's David Ellefson, Billy IdolBrian Wilson, Questlove, Billy Corgan, Flea, Tom Morello, Jason Isbell, AC Newman, Patton Oswalt, Dave Hause, Edgar Wright, and more.

Ozzy penned a tribute for Rolling Stone, which reads in part:

It’s always a sad day when somebody like that dies. It’s like when Michael Jackson died. I didn’t believe it at first. It’s such a fucking loss.

[...] That thing with finger-tapping in the Eighties, with the hair bands, everybody was doing that finger tapping. Once you’ve seen the master do it, everyone else comes second. Anybody after Eddie Van Halen was in second, as far as I’m concerned. There were some other good players, and there are some very clever ones, but it’s not just playing an instrument. You’ve got to put the emotion behind you, and Eddie had all that. He made it look so easy.

[...] But I could sit and watch Eddie Van Halen play guitar all day. He’s so entertaining as a guitar player. He made it look like it was not difficult. He made it look like it was a natural thing. Everybody else was trying to be Eddie Van Halen, but there is only one Eddie Van Halen. I thought he was brilliant. God only knows, what you have to do to get that good.

Pete Townshend also spoke to Rolling Stone about Eddie:

I was once asked by Michael Jackson to play electric guitar on the Thriller album. I said I couldn’t do it but recommended Eddie who called and we chatted. He was utterly charming, happy about the connection, but told me how much he was enjoying playing keyboards. His smile was just classic. A man in his rightful place, so happy to be doing what he did.

It’s completely tragic that we have lost him. He was not just an innovative and stylish player with great taste, he was also a laidback virtuoso showman who just blew us all away every time. Every shredder today has lost their Master Teacher and Guide.

Metallica's Kirk Hammett said to the New York Times:

To me, he was like Tesla or Louis Pasteur or Ray Kurzweil. He might not have been working with circuits or engines or whatnot. He was working with musical notes and guitar strings and bridges and amplifiers.

[...] The things that he came up with became the modern guitar lexicon. And he was just totally committed to his cause. You don’t sound like that by saying, “OK, I’m going to play guitar for an hour a day.” You get to that point embracing the guitar and music as a complete lifestyle.

Read more of what Kirk had to say here.

Read a tribute from Bill & Ted star Alex Winter here.

Read more tributes below.

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