4:50 PM PT -- Valerie Bertinelli, Eddie's ex-wife and mother to his only child, Wolfgang, just posted a heartbreaking tribute to the rock star. She called him "my love" and gave thanks that she was there with him in his last moments.
Eddie Van Halen -- the legendary guitarist and co-founder of Van Halen -- has died after a long battle with cancer ... TMZ has learned.
Sources directly connected to the rock star tell us ... he died at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica Tuesday. His wife, Janie, was by his side, along with his son, Wolfgang, his ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli, and Alex, Eddie's brother and drummer.
We're told in the last 72 hours, Eddie's ongoing health battle went massively downhill -- doctors discovered his lung cancer had moved to his brain as well as other organs.
As you know, Eddie has been battling cancer for well over a decade. Our sources say he's been in and out of the hospital over the past year -- including last November for intestinal issues -- and recently underwent a round of chemo.
Last year we reported ... Eddie was flying between the US and Germany for 5 years to get radiation treatment. Though he was a heavy smoker for years, he believes he developed throat cancer from a metal guitar pick he used to frequently hold in his mouth more than 20 years ago.
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Nevertheless, he continued to attend concerts and rehearse music with his son, who -- if ya don't know -- became Van Halen's bassist in 2006.
Wolfgang mourned his father online, writing ... "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." He added, "I love you so much, Pop."
Of course, Eddie himself was considered one of the best and most influential guitarists of all time ... who first made a name for himself with his solo on Van Halen's "Eruption."
Eddie formed the classic rock group in Pasadena in 1972 with his brother, Alex, on drums, Michael Anthony on bass and David Lee Roth singing. Eddie served as the main songwriter on their self-titled debut album in 1978 ... which launched the group into rock superstardom in the '80s.
They went on to pump out hit after hit, including "Runnin' with the Devil," "Unchained," "Hot for Teacher," "Panama" and "Jump" ... and continued their success with Sammy Hagar on lead vocals after the departure of Roth in 1985.
While the band had already achieved hard rock superstardom, Eddie became a pop culture icon with the 1983 release of Michael Jackson's "Beat It" ... which featured Eddie's iconic guitar solo.
Though some members of Van Halen have changed, Eddie and Alex were the constants in the band ... with Eddie's acclaimed guitar work being the focal point of their legacy.
Van Halen was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, and Eddie is widely considered one of the greatest guitar players of all time.
He is survived by his wife, Janie, and his son.
Eddie was 65.
Originally published -- 12:29 PM PT
Johnny Nash, the guy who sang the incredibly happy and infectious 1970s #1 hit, "I Can See Clearly Now," has died.
The singer's son tells TMZ ... Johnny was at home Tuesday when he passed away of natural causes. No word on cause of death yet.
Johnny was born in Houston and made his debut as a major label artist in 1957 with the single, "A Teenager Sings the Blues." However, it was his reggae-tinged hit that topped the charts in November of 1972, and stayed there for 4 weeks.
Nash sold more than 1 million copies of the single, and it made him an international star, especially in Jamaica ... where he became one of the first non-Jamaican singers to record reggae on the island.
While he might go down in music history as a one-hit wonder, what a smash. "I Can See Clearly Now" has been covered numerous times after Johnny. A couple of those covers even reached the top 20 -- the most recent one being Jimmy Cliff's 1993 version for the "Cool Runnings" soundtrack.
His son, John Nash III, tells us, "He was a wonderful father and family man. He loved people and the world. He will be missed within his community. Family was his everything."
Johnny was 80.
WWE legend Joseph Laurinaitis -- AKA Road Warrior Animal -- died during a romantic getaway with his wife to celebrate their wedding anniversary, this according to police documents.
Laurinaitis -- one half of the famous Legion of Doom tag team -- was with his wife, Kimberly, at the Margaritaville Lake Resorts in Osage Beach, Missouri on Sept. 22 for a quick getaway.
According to the police report, obtained by TMZ Sports, Laurinaitis had set up a whole romantic evening for Kim -- starting with a fancy dinner and returning to their room, which was covered in rose petals and a gift basket.
But, after they arrived back to the room, Laurinaitis suffered a medical emergency -- and collapsed on the bed.
Kim tried to perform CPR, but unfortunately, Joseph could not be saved, according to officials.
The medical examiner launched an investigation into his death -- and notes medication for Laurinaitis was collected at the scene.
Laurinaitis is considered one of the best in-ring performers of all time -- he wrestled for most of his WWE career with Road Warrior Hawk and won multiple tag team championships as The Road Warriors/Legion of Doom.
He was only 60 years old.
12:27 PM PT -- Atlanta PD tells TMZ ... cops responded to a call of a person injured at 1:45 AM Saturday. Byrd was found unresponsive, and emergency medical workers pronounced him dead from multiple gunshot wounds to the back.
We're told homicide detectives are investigating.
Thomas Jefferson Byrd -- who appeared in several Spike Lee joints -- has been murdered in Atlanta ... according to Spike himself.
Lee says ... "I’m So Sad To Announce The Tragic Murder Of Our Beloved Brother Thomas Jefferson Byrd Last Night In Atlanta, Georgia." Spike shared a photo of Thomas as the character Errol Barnes in his 1995 film, "Clockers."
Along with "Clockers," Byrd also appeared in "Get on the Bus," "Bamboozled," "He Got Game," "Red Hook Summer," "Chi-Raq" and more.
He was also a successful theater actor, nominated for Broadway's 2003 Tony Award as Best Actor for a revival of August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."
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He has starred in numerous regional stage productions including the San Diego Repertory Theater's award-winning performance of "Spunk".
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Originally published -- 12:13 PM PT
Japanese fashion designer Kenzo Takada has died from coronavirus.
Kenzo, the first Japanese designer to have ensconced himself in the fashion capital of the world -- Paris, France -- died Sunday in the hospital. His spokesperson confirms Kenzo's death was the result of COVID.
Kenzo's designs featured colorful graphic and floral prints. He was hugely popular, both for his high fashion and luxury day-to-day streetwear.
The designer sold his brand to LVMH back in 1993 and stepped away from the brand 6 years later.
Kenzo was born in 1939 and developed a passion for drawing and sewing. He went to France in 1965 ... it was supposed to be a stopover but he ended up staying permanently.
He created a line for men back in '83, and in '88 he created his first perfume -- Kenzo Kenzo.
Kenzo was 81.
Bob Gibson -- one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history -- has died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
The St. Louis Cardinals legend passed away while in hospice care in Omaha, Nebraska ... according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Gibson had been in the cancer fight for more than a year.
During his 17 seasons in Major League Baseball, Gibson was THE MAN!!!
A 2-time World Series champ. 2-time World Series MVP. 2 Cy Young awards. NL MVP in 1968.
He made the All-Star team 9 times! He was a 9-time Gold Glove winner.
He logged 3,117 strikeouts! 251 wins!!
Of course, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981 -- first ballot.
The Cardinals retired his #45 back in 1975 and put him in the franchise Hall of Fame in 2014. There's also a statue of Gibson in front of Busch Stadium.
He was also a MONSTER on the basketball court!! In fact, he had a brief stint with the Harlem Globetrotters back in the day!
RIP to one of the true all-time greats.
Steve Barnes -- co-founder of the personal injury law firm, Cellino & Barnes -- has reportedly died after a plane he was piloting crashed in upstate NY.
Barnes and a female passenger were reportedly killed Friday when the single-engine, propeller-powered Socata TBM 700 6-seater plane crashed in a wooded area in Genesee County. Barnes and the woman were the only ones on board.
Officials have not yet identified the victims, but The Buffalo News is reporting that a lawyer at Barnes' law firm confirmed Steve was piloting that plane.
A Buffalo TV station also reported the plane is registered to an address matching that of Cellino & Barnes' offices. While the name Steve Barnes may not be universally known, his firm's jingle definitely is. That toll-free number, 800-888-8888, at the end of the commercials really does stick in your head.
Barnes and his former partner, Ross Cellino, worked together for almost three decades before splitting back in June.
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Bonni Lou Kern -- one of the original 'Mickey Mouse Club' Mouseketeers in the '50s -- has died ... TMZ has learned.
Bonni died Monday in Wooster, Ohio ... according to the Wayne County Health Dept. We're told she died of natural causes.
As a Mouseketeer, the very first episode of "The Wonder Mouseketeers!" was named after her -- titled, "Save Bonni Lou Kern!" -- in which the other Mouseketeers help her out because she's caught in a fishing net.
Bonni appeared alongside famous Mouseketeers like Annette Funicello, Judy Harriet and Eileen Diamond, and was also seen in the film, "Save the Wonder Mouseketeers!"
According to her family ... Bonni was given the Mousecar Award, the highest award Disney gives out, as well as the key to Fantasy Land.
She went on to be known as Bonni Carr after marrying Harold "Bud" Carr in the late ’60s in Hawaii -- and is survived by 3 daughters, 6 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
Bonni was 79.
He says he can't sleep, has lost 20 pounds and wakes up immensely sad at the thought of his son growing up without a mother in his life ... all while dealing with hatred and death wishes upon them.
Ryan poured his heart out in a 12-minute video about Naya's death ... and about people on social media sending "terrible messages wishing death upon strangers they truly know next to zero about."
He says explaining the loss of Naya to Josey is the hardest part -- "You tell him she's an angel now and she’s with God and she’s in heaven, and he says 'I wanna go there. How do I get there?' I wouldn’t wish that upon any of your ears to have to hear that. To hear those words come out of the sweetest soul you know."
Ryan also addressed "ill-advised, illogical, misinformed tabloid" rumors that he and Naya's sister, Nickayla, are in a relationship ... explaining she's been a rock for Josey, who calls her Titi. He says Josey wants his Titi "to live with us forever" because she's now the closest thing he has to a mom."
Ryan says he was at Target with Nickayla looking to buy some items for Josey's birthday party when 2 girls followed them taking pictures. He called out the girls and several tabloids for "creating a false narrative based on an angle of a photo of 2 people grieving who have been living their life out of suitcases, and just trying to get settled into a new place."
Nickayla also took to Instagram to clear the air about the nature of her relationship with her ex-brother-in-law ... saying she's not concerned with the way things look "because no one can see each agonizing moment we all endure." She added, "What matters most I've learned is to show compassion, not to judge others, & never take a moment of life for granted."
Davis died Tuesday at a hospital in Nashville ... according to his manager, Jim Morey. Earlier this week, the singer became critically ill after undergoing surgery and sadly was unable to recover. "He was surrounded by the love of his life and wife of 38 years, Lise, and his sons Scott, Noah and Cody," Morey wrote on Facebook.
After news of Mac's health broke, he received an outpouring of love from country stars like Dolly Parton and others asking for prayers and support.
The Texas native got his big break in the late '60s as a songwriter when Elvis recorded his works, "Memories," "Don't Cry Daddy," "In the Ghetto" and "A Little Less Conversation" ... all of which became hits for The King.
Mac also wrote for a handful of other acts -- like Kenny Rogers & the First Edition -- before launching a solo career in the '70s ... kicked off with his Grammy-nominated hit "Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me."
Though the song was a success on both the country and pop charts, Mac made a name for himself as a country singer when he was crowned the Academy of Country Music's Entertainer of the Year in 1974.
His other hits include "Stop and Smell the Roses," "One Hell of a Woman" and the 1980 novelty song, "It's Hard to be Humble."
On top of his music career, Davis also starred on his own TV variety show from 1974-76 and made his big-screen debut in the 1979 football film, "North Dallas Forty," alongside Nick Nolte.
He also hosted an episode of "The Muppet Show" and starred in "The Sting II" in the '80s, and went to appear in numerous TV and film projects over the next 3 decades.
He's been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Mac is survived by his wife, Lise Gerard, and 3 children.
He was 78.
Helen Reddy, the woman who sang the song that became the anthem of the women's rights movement has died.
Reddy's family said the Australian singer died Tuesday, though they did not disclose the cause.
Ready's song, "I Am Woman" ... not only shot to the top of the charts in the 70's, but with its lyrics -- "I am woman, hear me roar ..." -- became an inspiration to this day. It has been used in marches, on TV and, frankly, just by ordinary folk who love the song. Reddy won a grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
She had another #1 hit with "Delta Dawn." She followed that up with yet another hit, "Angie Baby."
By the way, "I am Woman" was not an instant anthem, but gained popularity over time and eventually charted at #1. When Reddy accepted the Grammy, she thanked "God because she makes everything possible."
Reddy went on to appear in various TV shows and movies. She even starred in her own TV show, "The Helen Reddy Show."
Reddy was diagnosed with dementia in 2015.
Her family said, "It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29th, 2020 in Los Angeles. She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and a truly formidable woman. Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge her voice will live on forever."
Reddy was 78. RIP
The governor of California has signed a new "Kobe Bryant Law" -- which makes it a crime for first responders to take unauthorized pictures of a dead person at an accident scene.
The measure -- which takes effect on January 1st -- was triggered by the aftermath of the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash ... when 8 local deputies were accused of taking or sharing death pics for unofficial business.
In fact, at least one deputy was accused of using a Kobe death photo to try and pick up a woman at a bar.
But, on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill which will make it a misdemeanor for a first responder to take or share pics from an accident or crime scene for any purpose outside official law enforcement or genuine public interest.
Kobe's widow, Vanessa Bryant, has already filed a lawsuit against the L.A. County Sheriff's Office over the alleged accident photo scandal. She's suing for negligence, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The Whitney Houston hologram that was supposed to make its debut on "The Voice" years ago has emerged from the shadows new and improved -- the problem is, her estate had NO idea it was happening.
Record producer Scott Storch recently teamed up with Hologram USA -- the same company that created the famous Tupac and Michael Jackson holograms a while back -- to put on a variety show that featured live performances, as well as cameos from icons past.
It was hosted by Scott Storch but producers also beamed in some late stars like Jackie Wilson, Billie Holiday, Pac, Biggie, MJ ... as well as some still-living folks, like Ray J and Chief Keef. Storch and co. released it through a network called FilmOn TV about a week and change ago.
Anyway, one of the holograms to zap onto the screen at one point is Whitney's ... which took people aback, since plans to use her hologram were infamously scrapped in 2016.
You'll recall ... the hologram was supposed to duet with Christina Aguilera on the finale of "The Voice" that year -- a performance from which photos leaked online just days prior -- but Whitney's estate pulled the plug last-minute because they didn't like the hologram's look.
Turns out ... the guy who worked on that hologram -- Alki David -- wasn't done with his Whitney masterpiece. Sources close to Alki tell us he went back and retooled the hologram's image to make sure it was just right and decided to use it for this new Scott Storch show.
We're also told he didn't get the OK from her estate to release it, nor does he feel he needed to -- as it's his work and he feels he had the right to pick up the baton again.
Unfortunately, sources with direct knowledge tell us Whitney's estate sees things differently ... and they're currently weighing their legal options since this was done without permission.
The family of Coliesa McMillian -- who appeared on Season 8 of "My 600-lb. Life" -- was thankfully allowed to see her in the hospital before she died ... something they feared would not be possible due to COVID restrictions.
Coliesa passed away Tuesday at a hospital in Louisiana, but her mother, Sadie Courville, tells TMZ she'd been at the Baton Rouge facility for quite a while ... and they hadn't been able to visit her due to pandemic rules.
She says the hospital made an exception when it was clear Coliesa was on her deathbed, allowing her and Coliesa's 2 teenage daughters in to say their final goodbyes.
Sadie says she patted Coliesa's arm while her girls cried and held her hand.
According to Coliesa's mom ... the family doesn't know the exact cause of death, but she says her health went downhill after she underwent weight loss surgery and sadly, she never recovered.
A rep for the East Baton Rouge Coroner's Office tells us ... a review of Coliesa's medical records shows she died of natural causes due to complications from that surgery months ago.
Coliesa was 41.
The best you can call this is bad taste, and the worst is despicable because a Republican group decided to jack the moniker of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- The Notorious R.B.G. -- by instantly printing shirts supporting Judge Amy Coney Barrett with the words "Notorious A.C.B." emblazoned on them.
The shirts are courtesy of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) ... a group that raises cash to elect Republicans to the Senate.
The org tweeted a photo of Barrett with the Biggie Smalls crown.
Barrett praised RBG when she spoke Saturday after being nominated by Donald Trump -- she called her "a woman of enormous talent" -- so we're guessing she had nothing to do with the shirt. But seriously ... to riff on something that became part of the public adoration for the late Justice -- it's just wrong.
Some Dems were outraged. California Governor Gavin Newsom said, "This makes me sick to my stomach."
The NRSC is selling the "limited edition" t-shirt for a minimum donation of $25.
The Prez nominated the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge Saturday, just over a week after RBG passed away from cancer. Barrett, a Trump appointee to the Circuit Court, was a Notre Dame law professor. He dished out her bona fides and respectable resume while naming her as his nominee, while also calling on the Senate to do their duty.
Barrett began her remarks by praising the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg for her laudatory and consequential life. She noted RBG smashed many glass ceilings. And, she had words about her mentor -- the late Justice Antonin Scalia -- and how he helped shape her vision of the law and how he taught her about collegiality even with people who are polar opposites.
Barrett said she'd learned a lot from Scalia and promised -- if confirmed -- to uphold the letter of the law as written, without any personal bias or otherwise. She also thanked her husband and her 7 kids, all of whom eventually came up on stage to pose for a photo op with the First Family.
Some more background on Barrett ... she is a die-hard conservative justice, who is a deeply religious, practicing Catholic. She's opposed to abortion, but has said she thinks Roe vs. Wade is more likely to be reimagined than overruled. In common parlance, reimagined means whittling away at the precedent.
Trump urged the public and the media to refrain from personal or partisan attacks against Judge Barrett, with a nod to how nasty and contentious Justice Kavanaugh's confirmation was. Trump went on to praise Justice Ginsburg, and explained why Barrett was the best choice to replace her.
If she's confirmed by the Senate -- which is highly likely -- the Supreme Court will have a solid 6-3 majority. The stakes are enormous, with abortion rights, health care, LGBTQ rights and voting rights on the chopping block.
Barrett has long been considered for a Supreme Court seat with Trump in office ... she was on the shortlist to replace Anthony Kennedy when he retired in 2018, a seat that is now occupied by Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
It's interesting ... when Trump filled Kennedy's seat, he reportedly informed advisors he was "saving" Barrett just in case RBG left SCOTUS during his presidency.
Barrett graduated from Notre Dame School of Law. She was in private practice before becoming a law professor at George Washington University and then Notre Dame.
Barrett has been serving on the Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals since 2017. She's ruled on a pair of abortion-related cases, both times in favor of restrictions on access to abortion.
One key issue she's made herself perfectly clear on is the Affordable Care Act, arguing the birth control mandate is unconstitutional and the ACA overall is an overreach and abuse of Congressional power.
The ACA will go before the court the week after the election.