One more hero goes down. Now is the time to mourn one of the greatest drummer heavy music has ever produced. Neil Peart, Rush’s drummer, died at 67 due to a brain cancer, which he had been quietly battling for three-and-a-half years, as reported by Rolling Stone. It happened on Tuesday, January 7th, in Santa Monica, California, according to Elliot Mintz, a family spokesperson. A representative for the band confirmed the news to Rolling Stone.
Peart was one of rock’s greatest drummers, with a flamboyant yet utterly precise style that paid homage to his hero, the Who’s Keith Moon, while going well beyond that example. He joined singer-bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson in Rush in 1974, and his virtuosic playing and literate, wildly imaginative lyrics – which drew on Ayn Rand and science fiction, among other influences – helped make the trio one of the essential bands of the classic-rock era. His drum fills on songs like “Tom Sawyer” were pop hooks in their own right, each one an unforgettable mini-composition. A rigorous autodidact and a gifted writer, Peart was also the author of numerous books.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, Lee and Lifeson called Peart their “friend, soul brother and bandmate over 45 years,” and said he had been “incredibly brave” in his battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. “We ask that friends, fans, and media alike understandably respect the family’s need for privacy and peace at this extremely painful and difficult time,” Lee and Lifeson said. “Those wishing to express their condolences can choose a cancer research group or charity of their choice and make a donation in Neil Peart’s name. Rest in peace, brother.”