At the end of last week, Eddie Van Halen was not in the studio laying down tracks for the band's upcoming album, or plotting the next tour with -- or without --David Lee Roth. Instead, he was at a Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center undergoing cancer prevention treatment.
Jane Brust, a spokesperson for the center, said that Van Halen visited the facility last Thursday, but she denied reports that he has tongue cancer. "He does not have cancer," she said. "That has been inaccurately reported. After visiting with M.D. Anderson doctors, he is planning to begin an outpatient clinical trial to prevent cancer ... He did not have an operation at M.D. Anderson." Brust would not offer any details about the program other than to say that Van Halen will "be able to come in and go and won't be admitted to the hospital. Clinical trial means it's a protocol under study; it's not a standard treatment."
Warner Bros. Records would not confirm anything about the musician's reported illness and declined to make any comment concerning Van Halen or the band's future. The band's official Web site, www.van-halen.com, was equally vague, only stating that the guitarist had visited the medical center on May 25 as an outpatient.
This is Van Halen's second health setback in a year. Last November he underwent surgery to replace his right hip.
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