Last year, one of Eddie Van Halen's doctors shot down rumors the guitar god had cancer.
But last week, Eddie himself admitted that he does in fact have the disease — while insisting that he's "healthier than ever."
"I'm sorry for having waited so long to address this issue personally," he wrote Thursday on the band's official Web site (see Web Links, right). "But cancer can be a very unique and private matter to deal with. So, I think it's about time to tell you where I'm at."
He said he was recently examined by three oncologists and three head and neck surgeons at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles .
"I was told that I'm healthier than ever and beating cancer," the message read. "Although it's hard to say when, there's a good chance I will be cancer-free in the near future. Love, Eddie."
Cancer of the Tongue?
What Eddie didn't say is exactly what kind of cancer he has. When this news first broke, MTV and others reported that the 46-year-old guitarist had cancer of the tongue.
Never one to miss out on a press opportunity, David Lee Roth posted this on his official Web site:
"I was stunned this morning to learn that Eddie Van Halen has cancer. My condolences. You can whip this, champ. See ya down the road."
Is He or Isn’t He?
Reports Roth had rejoined the band were fueled by a message from Roth on the same Web site, saying he and Eddie Van Halen had recorded three tunes last summer — songs he at different times called "amazing," "astonishing" and "phenomenal."
The band appeared to deny those rumors on their official Web site — but didn't mention Diamond Dave by name.
"We're aware of all the rumors, and rumors are just that," the April 20 message said. "We are continuing to work in the studio creating music for our next record."
The message is signed "Edward, Alex and Mike" and does not say who, if anyone, they were working with.
Eddie's ‘Angel’ Speaks Out
Meanwhile, Eddie's wife, Valerie Bertinelli, on Sunday made the first of her two scheduled appearances this season on the CBS TV series, Touched By An Angel.
Bertinelli plays an angel-in-training and will only appear in one more episode this season, next Sunday.
The two-part season finale was shot before she joined the cast of the highly rated drama. Bertinelli will be a regular next season.
In interviews to promote the show, she said she prefers the Roth era of the band, and that her husband was waiting for the flamboyant singer to get in touch, according to the Van Halen News Desk Web site.
She also described her husband's health as "great."
The couple has one son, Wolfgang.