Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen has been remembered as a genius who inspired a generation of musicians following his death aged 65, after a long battle with cancer.
Known for innovative and explosive guitar playing in the band that bore his name, Van Halen "changed everything" in rock music and was an inspiration to Canberra's own Steve Gray who shared the AIS Arena stage with his idol on the band's 1998 Australian tour.
Van Halen's son Wolfgang made the sombre announcement via Twitter on Wednesday.
"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."
As a teenager, Mr Gray obssessed over Van Halen's music, replaying casettes in an attempt to figure out how he created the iconic songs.
"He's the Hendrix of that generation, there's probably two or three guys over time that have changed the way everyone does everything and he is one of them," Mr Gray said.
"You spend a lot of time learning their songs and trying to figure out how he was doing it.
"He had revolutionised the whole playing of guitar, whether it be sound, technique or song structure."
In 1998, Mr Gray's band of the day, Liquid, had scored a contract with Warner Bros. after taking out Triple J Unearthed.
When Van Halen's Australian tour was announced, the Canberra band was asked to open for two shows, one in Melbourne and Canberra's AIS Arena.
"It was quite surreal, being such a massive fan boy," Mr Gray said.
"When we got the gig honestly it was just a moment of silence for me while I digested what I'd just been told."
Regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Van Halen has been remembered by fellow musicians and friends for his warm, "beautiful soul".
Mr Gray said Van Halen's welcoming nature came as a surprise.
"You obsess over somebody so much then you're standing next to them talking about like-minded stuff," he said.
"I remember going up when our set was done, we were allowed a guest list and because it was in Canberra my family came.
"I'm sitting there with my father and he turns around and goes 'I'm so proud of you.'
"I couldn't even talk, I was just staring at the stage watching my heroes play in front of me, something I had been a part of."
Eddie Van Halen acted as the band's musical director and co-authored the band's tough-riffing songs, which straddled the boundary between hard rock and heavy metal. He found immediate success, and formulated a style that would be emulated by hordes of long-haired rockers.
The group's first LP Van Halen, though it climbed no higher than No. 19 in the US, would ultimately be certified for sales of 10 million copies. Its next five multi-platinum albums all reached the top 10; 1984, released in its titular year, contained the band's first and only No.1 single, the synthesiser-driven Jump, and sifted another 10 million units.
Mr Gray said Van Halen's influence would continue to permeate music across the world, potentially inspiring a new generation.
"The guys that are popular now obviously have borrowed from him and it's every part of it. It's the sound, the amps, the way they play," he said.
"The stuff he does is going to echo forever.
"When one of the big ones passes away all of a sudden you're subjected to it so maybe it will inspire somebody, a teenager sitting in his bedroom practising all the time, and we'll have another new interpretation of it."
- With AAP