Guitar rock legend Eddie Van Halen dies of cancer at 65

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By MARK KENNEDY and MESFIN FEKADU

NEW YORK (AP) — Eddie Van Halen, the guitar virtuoso whose blinding speed, control and innovation propelled his band Van Halen into one of hard rock’s biggest groups, fueled the unmistakable grinding solo in Michael Jackson’s hit “Beat It” and elevated him to the status of rock god, has died. He was 65. Van Halen, who had battled cancer, died Tuesday. A person close to Van Halen’s family confirmed the rocker’s death. With his distinct solos, Van Halen fueled the ultimate California party band and helped knock disco off the charts starting in the late 1970s with his band’s self-titled debut album and then with the blockbuster record “1984.”