Mark Stone, the original bassist of Van Halen, died Sunday of cancer.
The news was announced by Stone’s brother Brad, who wrote on his Instagram page, “My beloved brother Mark passed this morning. #markstone #vanhalen #fanhalen.”
Fan site Van Halen News Desk recently reported that Mark’s wife had revealed that Stone had entered hospice.
Stone began playing with Eddie and Alex Van Halen in 1972 in a band called Genesis that later changed its name to Mammoth. In 1974, after David Lee Roth had joined Mammoth as its lead singer, the group changed its name to Van Halen.
Stone was replaced as Van Halen’s bassist by Michael Anthony in 1974, but he is featured on a series of demos that the band recorded in 1973 and ’74.
In the 2003 documentary The Van Halen Story: The Early Years, Stone discussed his departure from the group.
“I was a straight-A student in school, and doing the band, and I was, like, split between these two things, and basically, I just couldn’t keep up with them,” he admitted.
He added, “We met one day, and they actually asked me to leave. For a long time it really hurt…It was tough leaving that band, ’cause I knew they were destined for greatness…They say, ‘Don’t leave before the miracle happens,’ and I did.”
Current Van Halen bassist Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie’s son, paid tribute to Stone in a post on his Twitter feed that reads, “Heartbreaking news to hear of Mark’s passing. Met him a few times and he was a wonderful man. My heart goes out to his family.”
By Matt Friedlander
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