Eddie Van Halen is honoured at the Billboard Music Awards 2020

Eddie Van Halen is honoured at the Billboard Music Awards 2020 as his iconic guitar commands the stage following musician’s death aged 65

The late Eddie Van Halen’s incredible musical legacy was recognised on Wednesday evening as the 2020 Billboard Music Awards got underway in Los Angeles. 

The legendary guitarist and founding member of rock group Van Halen passed away aged 65 on October 6th following a battle with throat cancer. 

But his memory lived on as the annual ceremony honoured Eddie’s lasting contribution to contemporary music by airing footage of his performance with musician son Wolfgang at the Billboard Awards in 2015. 

Tribute: The late Eddie Van Halen’s incredible musical legacy was recognised on Wednesday evening as the 2020 Billboard Music Awards got underway in Los Angeles

In a poignant touch organisers also allowed his guitar to sit alone onstage inside the Dolby Theater venue, a lone spotlight illuminating the instrument as his talent was remembered. 

The tribute was one of many on the night as the Billboard Awards did a roll call of musical talent to have passed away over the last year – among them Kenny Rogers, Little Richard and Helen Reddy. 

With his distinct solos, Eddie fueled the ultimate California party band in Van Halen and helped knock disco off the charts starting in the late 1970s with their self-titled debut album and then with the blockbuster record 1984, which contains the classics Jump, Panama and Hot for Teacher.

Old times: Eddie's lasting contribution to contemporary music was remembered as organisers  aired footage of his performance with musician son Wolfgang at the Billboard Awards in 2015

Old times: Eddie’s lasting contribution to contemporary music was remembered as organisers  aired footage of his performance with musician son Wolfgang at the Billboard Awards in 2015

Moving: In a poignant touch organisers also allowed his guitar to sit alone onstage inside the Dolby Theater venue, a lone spotlight illuminating the instrument as his talent was remembered

Moving: In a poignant touch organisers also allowed his guitar to sit alone onstage inside the Dolby Theater venue, a lone spotlight illuminating the instrument as his talent was remembered

Van Halen is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time, and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Rolling Stone magazine put Eddie at No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.

The members of Van Halen – the two Van Halen brothers, Eddie and Alex; vocalist David Lee Roth; and bassist Michael Anthony – formed in 1974 in Pasadena, California. 

They were members of rival high school bands and then attended Pasadena City College together. They combined to form the band Mammoth, but then changed to Van Halen after discovering there was another band with the same name.  

Iconic: Eddie's gleaming guitar was on display as the event got underway on Wednesday night

Iconic: Eddie’s gleaming guitar was on display as the event got underway on Wednesday night

Main man: With his distinct solos, Eddie fueled the ultimate California party band in Van Halen and helped knock disco off the charts starting in the late 1970s

Main man: With his distinct solos, Eddie fueled the ultimate California party band in Van Halen and helped knock disco off the charts starting in the late 1970s

Eddie was born in Amsterdam and his family immigrated to California in 1962 when he was 7. His father was a big band clarinetist who rarely found work after coming to the U.S., and their mother was a maid who had dreams of her sons being classical pianists.  

‘We showed up here with the equivalent of $50 and a piano,’ Eddie Van Halen told The Associated Press in 2015. 

‘We came halfway around the world without money, without a set job, no place to live and couldn´t even speak the language.’   

Honoured: The tribute was one of many on the night as the Billboard Awards did a roll call of musical talent to have passed away over the last year - among them Kenny Rogers

Honoured: The tribute was one of many on the night as the Billboard Awards did a roll call of musical talent to have passed away over the last year – among them Kenny Rogers

Great loss: Australian singer Helen Reddy, who passed away aged 78 on September 29th, was also remembered

Great loss: Australian singer Helen Reddy, who passed away aged 78 on September 29th, was also remembered 

Big talent: The legendary Little Richard also got a mention after his passing aged 87 on May 9th

Big talent: The legendary Little Richard also got a mention after his passing aged 87 on May 9th

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