Eddie Van Halen’s family is not happy with how the rock star’s death is being treated in a new docuseries.
His son Wolfgang Van Halen didn’t mince words when reacting to the episode, which is scheduled to air Sunday. He shared to Twitter: “F*** @ReelzChannel, f*** everyone that works on this show, and f*** you if you watch it. F***ing disgusting trying to glamorize someone’s death from cancer. Pathetic and heartless.”
Van Halen’s ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli agreed with her son’s reaction. “Good Christ this is disgusting,” she said while reacting to the upcoming episode.
The special is part of the Reelz docuseries “Autopsy: The Last Hours Of…” which is described as giving viewers a deeper understanding of celebrity deaths. The show’s synopsis on the site says it “reveals the truth behind the controversial deaths of global icons and people whose untimely deaths were surrounded by scandal and intense media attention.”
The creators are said to use “crucial medical evidence from the actual autopsies to explain how and why they died while interviews with friends and family shed light on the events that led to death—finally putting an end to the speculation.”
The synopsis of the Van Halen episode says, “But behind his contagious smile, there was a darker undercurrent that would plague Eddie throughout his life. He dealt with addiction issues for over 4 decades, having started drinking at just age 12. Often relying on alcohol and other substances to maintain his creativity, Eddie would spend many years in and out of rehab.”
“He was a workaholic, often pushing his body to the limits in order to perform while secretly battling illness,” it reads.
Van Halen, who fronted a popular rock band by the same name, died in 2020 after battling cancer on and off for two decades. He was 65.
The newest episode of “Autopsy” focuses on Van Halen and will include commentary from Dr. Michael Hunter, a forensic pathologist who will analyze “every detail of Eddie Van Halen’s life in order to piece together what else may have been going on in his body, ultimately leading to his untimely death,” per the episode description on the site.
Reelz defended the episode from the backlash in a statement they shared with USA Today. “‘Autopsy: The Last Hours of…’ responsibly explores the circumstances of the passing of well-known and genuinely loved celebrities who the public cares about immensely,” the network told the publication. “The REELZ series generates much feedback from our viewers, ranging from medical professionals who praise its scientific accuracy, fans who tell us it provides closure or that they have become more proactive for the benefit of their health, and many who gain helpful perspective of health issues that might not otherwise receive attention.”
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