A Drumming Legend Dead at 67

Rush's Neil Peart was diagnosed with brain cancer more than 3 years ago
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2020 5:30 AM CST
Rush Drummer Neil Peart Dead at 67
This Aug. 1, 2015, file photo shows Neil Peart of Rush performing during the final show of the R40 Tour in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP, File)

A drumming rock legend has died. Rush's Neil Peart, who the CBC notes was "revered by fans and fellow musicians as one of the greatest drummers of all time," passed away Tuesday at age 67 in Santa Monica, Calif., per a statement issued by a family spokesperson, after being diagnosed with brain cancer more than three years ago. The Canadian band, made up of fellow members Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, announced his death Friday afternoon on social media "with broken hearts and the deepest sadness," asking fans who wanted to help to make a donation to a cancer charity or research group. Peart was also behind much of the lyrics for the band's songs—which NBC News notes were "heavily influenced by science fiction, philosophy, and classic literature"—and was known for the elaborate drum and percussion setup that surrounded him as he performed.

Peart started drumming as a teen after getting "a pair of sticks, a practice pad, and lessons," he said in a 2005 interview. He teamed up with Lee and Lifeson in 1974, and Rush soon attracted a worldwide following, selling millions of records. The band was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994, and into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Peart's death brought reaction from big names in music and politics. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted that "we've lost a legend," while fellow Canadian rocker Bryan Adams offered his own condolences. Paul Stanley of Kiss and Slash of Guns N' Roses also had messages to share. "Rest in peace brother," Rush's statement ended. Peart is survived by his wife, Carrie, and his daughter Olivia. He had another daughter, Selena, who died in a 1997 car accident at age 19; his first wife, Jackie, died shortly after Selena from cancer. (More obituary stories.)

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