'No further surgeries are needed': New health scare for Eddie Van Halen, but it's not cancer

Eddie Van Halen’s health has forced his band to postpone a scheduled swing through Japan in November, but the good news is: It’s not a return of his cancer.

Van Halen was diagnosed with tongue cancer back in 2000, and he subsequently lost a chunk of his tongue during an aggressive treatment plan that also included an experimental radioactive rinse. An April feature in Esquire magazine later confirmed that Van Halen’s doctors more recently discovered new throat cancer cells; another piece of his tongue was removed last fall.

This time, however, Van Halen has confirmed that its guitarist is suffering from diverticulitis, a painful situation in which inflamed pouches form on the colon wall. He underwent emergency surgery, but the band says no further procedures are expected — and Van Halen’s official statement said recovery time is expected to take four to six months. November’s shows are set to be rescheduled in 2013.

The tour, which has already been shortened once because of over-scheduling, follows Van Halen’s celebrated A Different Kind of Truth, the first full-length studio recording featuring guitarist Eddie Van Halen, drummer Alex Van Halen and David Lee Roth since 1984.

The album reached No. 6 on Billboard magazine’s mid-year list for album sales. A persistent rumor, since denied, had Van Halen in the mix as a possible participant in the upcoming Super Bowl halftime show, too. By then, however, the group had already postponed a series of North American shows.

Here is the band’s official statement: “Eddie Van Halen underwent an emergency surgery for a severe bout of Diverticulitis. No further surgeries are needed and a full recovery is expected within four – six months. Van Halen’s scheduled November 2012 tour of Japan is currently being rescheduled and the band looks forward to seeing and playing for their fans in 2013.”

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Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Van Halen. Click through the headlines for complete reviews …

VAN HALEN – A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH (2012): It’s interesting that A Different Kind of Truth doesn’t always go for the easy hook (recalling Fair Warning), something that may surprise late-arriving fans of keyboard-driven pop successes like “Jump” (and certainly the subsequent period with David Lee Roth’s successor, Sammy Hagar). Some of the material requires more than one listen to completely absorb, and Anthony’s cloud-bursting tenor is missed at times. But A Different Kind of Truth has a way of burrowing in. That’s largely thanks to the presence of Roth, of course. He’s always good for spandex-splitting laugh or two.

SHOWS I’LL NEVER FORGET: DAVID LEE ROTH, JUNE 24, 1988: What will always stick with me about that night was the showmanship. For whatever Roth might lack in vocal chops, he’s always made up for in stage presence and performance. On that night, he was on top of his game, bouncing around all over the stage, kicking and leaping with manic energy. At one point, he rappelled from the lights to the stage. He performed “Panama” from a boxing ring suspended from the roof of the arena and then rode a surfboard over the crowd back to the stage as he sang “California Girls.” It was a production drenched in the excess of the late 1980s, and I loved it.

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: VAN HALEN: A long-waited reunion with original lead singer David Lee Roth has Van Halen back in the news … and us digging through some old albums. Here’s a look back at a few favorite moments with Roth — and yes, Sammy, too — along with updated tour date information. Let’s start shredding!

ON SECOND THOUGHT: VAN HALEN – A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH (2012): I stand corrected – and pleasantly surprised, too. When I went into my first listen of Van Halen’s A Different Kind of Truth, I was expecting a steaming pile of mediocrity. Instead, the album is loaded with big, crazy riffing from Eddie Van Halen. As I listen to the record, I keep coming back to one word – swagger. That could be a complete review of this album in itself. It’s something that the best work from Van Halen has always had, and something that, for me, was often missing in the post-DLR version of the band.

Something Else!

The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.