Neil Peart of Rush Dead at 67


Neil Peart of Rush – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Ken Settle

Legendary Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart has passed away after a battle with brain cancer

Neil Peart, one of the legendary drummers of all time, has passed away. Peart, who was Rush’s drummer and the band’s main lyricist, was 67 years old.

Peart’s band mates Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson broke the news today (Jan. 10) in a message, stating that Peart passed away earlier this week of brain cancer.

“It is with broken hearts and the deepest sadness that we must share the terrible news that…our friend of over 45 years, Neil, has lost his incredibly brave battle with brain cancer (Glioblastoma),” the statement explains. “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.”

The statement from Lee and Lifeson urges fans that want to give their condolences to make a donation in Peart’s name to a cancer research group or charity of their choice.

Peart became a member of Rush in 1974, after the band’s original drummer, John Rutsey, exited the band. He went on to perform on Rush’s sophomore album, 1975’s “Fly by Night,” and appeared on every Rush album that followed. Peart was already dubbed the band’s main lyricist by Rush’s third studio record, “Caress of Steel.”

With Peart in the fold, Rush became of the biggest rock touring acts in the 1980s. Peart co-wrote many of Rush’s major hits, including “Fly by Night,” “The Spirit of Radio,” “Limelight,” “Tom Sawyer,” “Closer to the Heart,” “Freewill,” “Subdivisions” and “New World Man.”

Neil and the band members of Rush were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.

Rush is still popular today. The band kept touring and recording into the 2010s, but announced their retirement after wrapping up a 40th anniversary tour in summer 2015. Following those final shows, Peart stated that he had no intention of touring again.