Jan. 10 (UPI) — Neil Peart, the longtime drummer for rock band Rush, died this week in California, the group announced Friday. He was 67.
Peart died Tuesday in Santa Monica more than three years after he was diagnosed with brain cancer, according to his family’s spokesman, Elliot Mintz.
“It is with broken hearts and the deepest sadness that we must share the terrible news that on Tuesday our friend, soul brother and band mate of over 45 years, Neil, has lost his incredibly brave three and a half year battle with brain cancer (glioblastoma),” Rush said in a Twitter post.
“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.
“Those wishing to express their condolences can choose a cancer research group or charity of their choice and make a donation in Neil’s name. Rest ion peace brother.”
Peart became a part of the Canadian band in 1974, joining vocalist and bassist Geddy Lee, and guitarist Alex Lifeson.
Known as one of the greatest rock drummers in history, Peart also enjoyed traveling. In 2006, he published a book about his travels throughout North America by motorcycle called Roadshow: Landscape With Drums. It was his fourth book after The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa, Traveling Music: The Soundtrack to My Life and Times, and Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road.
Rush announced plans to stop touring in 2016 shortly after finishing their R40 tour. In addition to other concerns, the band pointed to the physical demands of playing such an expansive drum kit for Peart.
“His shoulders were hurting, his arms were hurting, his elbows, his feet, everything,” Lifeson said at the time. “He didn’t want to play anything less than 100 percent. He was finding it increasingly difficult to hit that mark on this last tour. So, all those things combined, I get it. I’m disappointed and I think Geddy [Lee] is very disappointed and we’d love to continue this tour a little bit longer, but we’re off now.”
Fellow rocker and drummer, Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, said the world lost a “giant” in the industry with Peart’s death.
“An inspiration to millions with an unmistakable sound who spawned generations of musicians (like myself) to pick up two sticks and chase a dream,” he said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “A kind, thoughtful, brilliant man who ruled our radios and turntables not only with his drumming, but also his beautiful words.