PASADENA, Calif. – The childhood home of Eddie Van Halen and a sidewalk outside a nearby liquor store have been turned into memorials to the legendary rock guitarist in his adopted hometown near Los Angeles.
The shrines began popping up shortly after Van Halen’s death from cancer at age 65 earlier in the week. The tributes have continued to grow and attract a steady stream of visitors day and night.
Van Halen was born in the Netherlands, and moved to Pasadena, California, with his parents and older brother Alex when he was 7.
A couple dozen people milled about the nondescript yellow house on Las Lunas Street on Friday, swapping memories and snapping photos of the flowers and old photos of the guitar virtuoso.
“This way people have a chance to come out and share their feelings,” said Jackie Gibson, whose younger brother was childhood friends with the Van Halens. “We need that right now. We really haven’t had a chance to celebrate with everything being closed down. It’s a time people can come together and heal.”
A pickup stopped in front of the house and its overgrown yard and cranked Van Halen's music, fittingly shattering the quiet on the otherwise neatly kept block. A shed where the brothers practiced still stands in the fenced-in backyard. They continued living at the house, which is now a rental, for a couple of years after their eponymous debut album came out in 1978.
“It’s heartbreaking because he’s such a part of our lives,” said Paige Uranga, a 53-year-old fan from nearby Alhambra. “It’s a soft, deep ache compared to all the other really sharp like knife aches we’re experiencing.”
A couple blocks away, Salvadore Franco was compelled to stop outside the liquor store and view the display of a guitar, photos, candles, beer cans and pack of cigarettes. Local legend has it that Eddie and Alex wrote the family name in wet cement on the curb, which is still visible.