Neil Peart, the visionary drummer and lyricist for Rush, has died.
Confirmed by Elliott Mintz, a spokesperson for the Peart family, the 67-year-old passed away on Tuesday (January 7) after quietly battling brain cancer for the past three years, according to Rolling Stone.
Often considered one of the greatest drummers to ever pick up a pair of sticks, Peart joined Rush in 1974 along with singer/bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson. His flamboyant yet definitive style helped make the trio one of the key bands of the classic-rock era.
Lee and Lifeson released a statement today (January 10), calling Peart their “friend, soul brother and bandmate over 45 years,” and said that 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.”
Neil Peart September 12, 1952 – January 7, 2020 pic.twitter.com/NivX2RhiB8
— Rush (@rushtheband) January 10, 2020
Aside from being the band’s drummer, Peart was also the Canadian band’s primary songwriter. He was also the author of numerous books, including his first, The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa, which written in 1996 about a month-long bicycling tour through Cameroon.
In 1983, he was inducted into the the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame, making him the youngest person ever so honoured. Rush were later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 by Foo Fighters.
Peart announced his retirement from Rush in 2015. Following the announcement, Dave Grohl was asked in an interview if he would tour with Rush if Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson asked him to fill in for Peart. He replied: “I’d say ‘I’m not physically or musically capable, but thanks for the offer.’ Neil Peart, that’s a whole other animal, another species of drummer.
“I know the arrangements, but I’m like Meg White to Neil Peart,” he added. “And she’s one of my favorite drummers!”
In a new statement shared on Foo Fighters‘ Instagram, Grohl called Peart “a kind, thoughtful, brilliant man.”
“Today, the world lost a true giant in the history of rock and roll,” he said. “An inspiration to millions with an unmistakable sound who spawned generations of musicians – like myself – to pick up two sticks and chase a dream. A kind, thoughtful, brilliant man who ruled our radios and turntables not only with his drumming, but also his beautiful words.”
He added: “I still vividly remember my first listen of ‘2112’ when I was young. It was the first time I really listened to a drummer. And since that day, music has never been the same. His power, precision, and composition was incomparable. He was called ‘The Professor’ for a reason: We all learned from him.”
Tributes have begun to pour in for the Rush stickman.
Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson wrote: “just heard about Neil Peart passing. I feel real bad about this – he was way too young. Neil was one of the great drummers and he’ll be missed. Love & mercy to Neil’s family.”
I just heard about Neil Peart passing. I feel real bad about this – he was way too young. Neil was one of the great drummers and he’ll be missed. Love & mercy to Neil’s family.
– Brian pic.twitter.com/T5qjECWX1W
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) January 10, 2020
Public Enemy‘s Chuck D remembered the night he spent with Peart following their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “At the end of a crazy @rockhall night in 2013 where @rushtheband & @PublicEnemyFTP were inducted. It was just myself & Neil PEart alone talkin & laughing low in relief the long night was over-a small table backstage sharing a unique moment without much word. Rest in Beats my man,” he tweeted.
At the end of a crazy @rockhall night in 2013 where @rushtheband & @PublicEnemyFTP were inducted. It was just myself & Neil PEart alone talkin & laughing low in relief the long night was over-a small table backstage sharing a unique moment without much word. Rest in Beats my man
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) January 10, 2020
Comedian Dave Foley said: “Over 20 years ago, one of my best friends John Kastner(@jeanguykastner) brought Neil Peart to my house in Laurel Canyon. We stayed up all night drinking whiskey and talking on more subjects than I knew existed. He was the friendliest curmudgeon in the world. We’ll miss him.”
He added: “Deepest sympathy to his wife Carrie and daughter Olivia and to Alex and Geddy. We’ll never see his like again.”
Deepest sympathy to his wife Carrie and daughter Olivia and to Alex and Geddy. We’ll never see his like again. #NeilPeart
— Dave Foley (@DaveSFoley) January 10, 2020
Comedian Rick Mercer said: “A drum lesson from Neil Peart was one of my best days on the job ever.” While CNN news reporter Jake Tapper added: “RIP Neil Peart, iconic drummer and lyricist for RUSH.”
A drum lesson from Neil Peart was one of my best days on the job ever. https://t.co/wzRoqWHqwI
— Rick Mercer (@rickmercer) January 10, 2020
RIP Neil Peart, iconic drummer and lyricist for RUSH
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 10, 2020
Jane’s Addiciton drummer Stephen Perkins shared a clip from behind Peart’s drum kit, writing: “Long Live Neil Peart.”
Long Live Neil Peart – a quick video from behinds Neil’s kit- watch, feel and repeat pic.twitter.com/U2z9TLyfcg
— Stephen Perkins (@stephenperkins) January 10, 2020
Another tribute came from KISS’ Tommy Thayer who wrote: “So sad to hear about Neil Peart passing. My deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans.”
— Tommy Thayer (@tommy_thayer) January 10, 2020
See more tributes for Neil Peart below:
Really sorry to hear about Neil Peart’s passing. He was an amazing drummer and made a huge ccontribution to Rock music. All my best to Alex and Geddy.
— Tom Hamilton (@THaerosmith) January 10, 2020
My deepest and most sincere condolences to Neil’s family and friends, and to Rush fans everywhere. What a brilliant and wonderful man. He left his mark on the world, music, drumming and so much more. With absolute love and Respect, Rest In Peace. https://t.co/569ssIL8pr pic.twitter.com/5bccoBnuIf
— Billy Sheehan (@BillyonBass) January 10, 2020
My prayers and condolences to the Peart Family, Fans and Friends. Neil was a kind soul. R.I.P……. Rush Drummer Neil Peart Dead at 67 – Rolling Stone https://t.co/icYz6fnXfE
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) January 10, 2020
— JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN (@JOANPOLICEWOMAN) January 10, 2020
What a sad day for the musicians world Neil Peart dead at 67. Rush's music influenced me and so many musicians as a composer, lyricist and rocks most meticulous drummer ever.
Thank you Neil ! pic.twitter.com/M9a8fkSVE9
— Mark Slaughter (@markslaughter33) January 10, 2020
It absolutely breaks my heart to pieces to get the news of the passing of one of my greatest heroes of all time. Neil…
No one in the history of the planet has inspired more air drumming than Neil Peart.
— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) January 10, 2020
— Kevin Connors (@kevconnorsespn) January 10, 2020
— Kirk Hammett (@KirkHammett) January 10, 2020
RIP Neil Peart. A true artist and a sweet, good guy. And probably the most air drummed drummer of all time. This is my tribute…air drumming one of THE greatest, iconic drum moments in rock history. #neilpeart #rush https://t.co/01RW6pYWIl
— Josh Freese (@joshfreese) January 10, 2020
Fuck this timeline. Definition of gut punched. I feel like I just lost my cool uncle. My cool uncle that was also the best rock drummer to ever live. So sad there will never be Rush 50, still thought I’d see them one last time in Toronto doing a one off. RIP Neil Peart pic.twitter.com/FpMTMJT199
— Brian Posehn (@thebrianposehn) January 10, 2020
"Big money goes around the world
Big money underground
Big money got a mighty voice
Big money make no sound" – Neil Peart #Thanks
— American Greed (@AmericanGreedTV) January 10, 2020
— Roger Craig Smith (@RogerCraigSmith) January 10, 2020
It is unbelievably sad to hear that my favorite drummer of all time, Neil Peart, has left us. Very hard to find words to properly express the level of inspiration & influence he had on so so many musicians. He will forever remain at the top of my list. Farewell to a true king. pic.twitter.com/A9QkSWg2f9
— King Diamond (@kingdiamond) January 10, 2020
The greatest of all time. RIP Neil Peart. I’m going to go raise a glass and then air-drum the shit out of Tom Sawyer. https://t.co/pL3xL4PUa0
— Scott Ian (@Scott_Ian) January 10, 2020
Damn man. Neil Peart wrote an insane amount of jams, like straight up untouchable prog rock battle hymns…RUSH SHALL BE ON BLAST now and forever ♾ ??????
— Blake Anderson (@UncleBlazer) January 10, 2020
Sadly Neil Peart passed away earlier this week. One the greatest drummers of all time. One of the founding members of one of the greatest Rock n Roll bands of all time. Rush @ZildjianCompany @EvansDrumheads @vicfirth @HumesandBerg
— KennyAronoff (@AronoffOFFICIAL) January 10, 2020