Neil Peart, Rush's legendary drummer, lyricist and rock 'n roll innovator, dead at 67 from brain cancer

He battled brain cancer for three-and-a-half years. Regarded as one the most innovative drummers in rock 'n' roll history, the legendary drummer was famous for his state-of-the-art drum kits, skillful playing style with intuitive offbeats and precise snaps of the drums, and onstage showmanship


                            Neil Peart, Rush's legendary drummer, lyricist and rock 'n roll innovator, dead at 67 from brain cancer
Drummer Neil Peart of Rush (Getty Images)

Neil Peart, the iconic drummer and lyricist of Rush, has died at age 67. A representative of the band confirmed the news, according to Rolling Stone. The cause of death was brain cancer, according to a spokesperson, and his passing happened on Tuesday, January 7, in Santa Monica.

He had been quietly battling with brain cancer for three-and-a-half years. Regarded as one the most innovative drummers in rock 'n' roll history, the legendary drummer was famous for his state-of-the-art drum kits, skillful playing style with intuitive offbeats and precise snaps of the drums, and onstage showmanship.

Peart joined the band in 1974, after the band’s cofounders, bassist/singer Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson, had released a self-titled album. Peart had a keen interest in adding melodic percussion instruments such as chimes and vibes which added to Rush's signature sound, and not long after joining as drummer, he added his lyrical abilities to the band as well.

He was famously influenced by science-fiction and Ayn Rand, author of 'The Fountainhead' and 'Atlas Shrugged'. The band became recognized as a strong force in the music industry with elaborate albums that grew in sophistication and technicality, with lyrics that were regarded as storylines.

'Necromancer', a conceptual song off their 1975 album 'Caress of Steel,' helped pave the way for the 1976 concept album '2112', a dystopian tale about a future society without music.

According to Rolling Stone, in a statement released on Friday, Lee and Lifeson called Peart their “friend, soul brother and bandmate over 45 years,” and said 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.”

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