Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi knows that good friends are hard to come by in the highly competitive music business, which is why he cherishes the friendship he had with Eddie Van Halen.
“I’ve got two really great friends in the music business — Brian May is one and Eddie Van Halen was the other,” Iommi told Guitar World. “Ed was just fantastic, and his death is a terrible loss. I feel so sad for his wife Janie, brother Alex and his son Wolfgang. It’s such a loss for everybody, fans and musicians alike.
“He was a fabulously caring human being,” he continued. “Whenever I was in L.A., I’d call him and we’d go out for dinner with our wives, and it was lovely. He was so easy going and we’d just sit and chat about anything. I met Eddie in ’78 when Van Halen toured with Sabbath. It was the band’s first world tour and we were on the road together for several months. We had such a great relationship.”
Iommi also revealed that Eddie had overcome struggles with arthritis in recent years.
“A few years ago I told him I was having problems with the cartilage in my thumbs, and Eddie recommended that I go to this guy he was seeing in Germany,” said Iommi. “So, I went there, and I had this form of STEM cell treatment like Eddie had. And yeah, it was really good. It’s not well known that Eddie struggled with his arthritis — I’m amazed how well he played, really.”