Neil Peart, Canadian rock icon from Rush, dies at 67
Canadian rock icon Neil Peart has died at 67.
The drummer and lyricist for the legendary rock band Rush died in California on Jan. 7, after a three-and-a-half-year battle with brain cancer. The band released a statement on Twitter confirming Peart’s death.
“It is with broken hearts and the deepest sadness that we must share the terrible news that on Tuesday our friend, soul brother and band mate of over 45 years, Neil, has lost his incredibly brave three and a half year battle with brain cancer (Glioblastoma),” the statement said. “Rest in peace brother.”
Peart is best known for being the drummer and primary lyricist for Rush. He was the youngest person ever inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame when he was honored in 1983, and he was widely regarded as one of rock’s most skilled drummers. Rush were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 and celebrated their 40th anniversary tour in 2015. After the anniversary tour, Peart had to step back from the band due to his chronic tendinitis and shoulder problems. Rush called it quits not long after, in 2018.
Born Sept. 12, 1952, and raised in Port Dalhousie, Ontario, Peart joined Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson in Rush in 1974 and wrote their breakout song “2112.”
“When Neil came for the audition [after original drummer John Rutsey left the band], we jammed to [‘Anthem’] — and he nailed it! That’s how I knew, this is our guy,” Rush frontman Lee told EW in 2015. “We convinced him to write lyrics — he had never tried that before — and some of them were really verbose and hard to sing. It automatically took us in a different direction, which the record company was a surprised by and I think we were surprised by.”
Peart also wrote seven nonfiction books about his life and travels, with his final book, Far and Wide: Bring That Horizon to Me!, published in 2016.
In 1997, tragedy struck Peart when his first daughter, Selena Taylor, was killed in a car accident at 19. Just 10 months later his common-law wife of 23 years, Jacqueline Taylor, died from cancer. Peart took an extended break from Rush to mourn the loss of his family. He later met Carrie Nuttal, and they were married Sept. 9, 2000. They had their first child together, Olivia, in 2009.