Rush: Friend of band says rumours surrounding Neil Peart’s final months are inaccurate

"He was able to speak, almost till the very end"

A longtime friend of Rush has spoken out on the various rumours regarding Neil Peart’s death and his final months.

The visionary stickman passed away earlier this month (January 7) after quietly battling brain cancer for the past three years, as confirmed by Elliott Mintz, a spokesperson for the Peart family.

Peart’s Rush bandmates, singer/bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson, shared a statement a few days after this death, 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.

Donna Halper – the woman credited with discovering Rush while working at an Ohio radio station back in 1974 – is now addressing rumours that Peart was unable to speak in the months prior to his death after a three-year battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Rush (L-R: Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart, Geddy Lee). CREDIT: Fin Costello/Redferns

Appearing to respond to a recent interview with Godsmack frontman Sully Erna, who said that his “friend” Peart “was in a wheelchair and he couldn’t speak” in the year before he passed, Halper said the vast majority of rumours about Peart’s final months were “inaccurate.”

“Sad to say, there are some rumors about Neil Peart’s final months circulating on social media,” she wrote on Twitter. “The vast majority are inaccurate. As for me, I choose to remember Neil as he was, and I want to respect his family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

She later added in more tweets: “Normally, I would remain silent and let people say what they want to say, but this is different. My friendship with Rush is something I take very seriously, and I will defend the truth as much as I can. It’s the least I can do.

“But it ended the way he wanted, surrounded by his family & best friends. (By the way, he was able to speak, almost till the very end, I am told.) Anyway, I’m just sorry there is no cure for the kind of cancer he had. May he rest in peace.

“That’s the only reason I decided to say something. I hope folks understand. This is not about me. It’s about respecting Neil’s memory and letting him rest in peace.”

One follower mentioned to Halper that they had read that Doane Perry of Jethro Tull had asked Peart if he was in pain to which he replied no.

Halper replied: “That’s not what I was referring to. And yes, it is true that Neil fought his disease bravely. This kind of cancer has taken a number of wonderful people from us. But he never gave up, and he did not want folks to know how sick he was.”

See more of Halper’s comments below:

As tributes for Peart continue to pour in, Foo Fighters‘ Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins have both shared moving messages.

“Today, the world lost a true giant in the history of rock and roll,” Grohl said in a statement released on social media. “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.”

Tool performed a live tribute to Peart during a recent concert in San Diego, while Metallica also shared a live cover of Rush‘s ‘Tom Sawyer’ in honour of Peart.

Meanwhile, Rush’s music sales have increased by over 2,000% since the death of the Peart, figures have revealed.