Neil Peart, Drummer for Rush, Dies at 67

Neil Peart, Drummer for Rush, Dies at 67

Rush had a loyal worldwide fan base and sold millions of records. Mr. Peart, who was also the band’s primary lyricist, was among the most admired drummers in rock.

Neil Peart, the pyrotechnical drummer and high-concept lyricist for the Canadian progressive-rock trio Rush, died on Jan. 7 in Santa Monica, Calif. The cause was brain cancer, according to a statement from Elliot Mintz, a spokesman for the family.

Rush was formed in 1968 but found its long-term identity — as the trio of Geddy Lee on vocals, keyboards and bass, Alex Lifeson on guitars and Mr. Peart on drums — after Mr. Peart replaced the band’s founding drummer, John Rutsey, in 1974.

Mr. Peart’s lyrics transformed the band’s songs into elaborate suites exploring science fiction, magic and philosophy, often with the individualist and libertarian sentiments that informed songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Freewill.” And Mr. Peart’s drumming was at once intricate and explosive, pinpointing odd meters and expanding the band’s power-trio dynamics.



In a recording career that continued into the 2010s, Rush headlined arenas and had more than a dozen platinum albums. Mr. Peart was also an author, writing books about his travels and his memoirs. The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. After a Rush tour in 2015, he retired from performing, citing its physical toll on his body, especially given his illness.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the band said that Peart had had glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain tumor, for three and a half years.

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