In the aftermath of the news that Neil Peart has passed away at the age of 67, his former Rush bandmates have formally responded. Peart, considered to be one of the best rock drummers of all time, lost his three-year battle with brain cancer earlier this week. The surviving members of the Canadian prog-rock band took to Twitter to speak about their "friend, soul brother and bandmate of 45 years."
Neil Peart September 12, 1952 - January 7, 2020 pic.twitter.com/NivX2RhiB8— Rush (@rushtheband) January 10, 2020
The statement also pleaded with fans and media to respect Peart's family during their time of mourning and encouraged those who wish to show their condolences by donating to a cancer research fund of their choice.
Peart formed Rush back in 1974 with bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson. After decades together, the drummer retired in 2015 following the band's last world tour, citing he wanted to spend more time with his wife, Carrie Nuttal and his daughter Olivia.
In December of that year, Peart explained to Drumhead Magazine that he was happy with his post-rock star life and that his daughter had even started introducing her father as "a retired drummer" to her friends.
"My dad – he's a retired drummer. True to say – funny to hear," Peart said at the time. "And it does not pain me to realize that, like all athletes, there comes a time to… take yourself out of the game. I would rather set it aside then face the predicament described in our song 'Losing It'."
The song, which comes from their ninth studio record, 1982's Signals, contains the line "Sadder still to watch it die than never to have known it," to which Peart was referring.
Three years later, Lifeson admitted that the band had broken up due to Peart's ongoing health issues. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, the guitarist described the tour as "a great time."
"I think that no matter how long it would have been, it would have been too short," Lifeson said. "Neil was prepared to commit to 30 dates and he told us that right from the very beginning. He didn’t even want to do the tour, to be honest with you. It’s been increasingly difficult for him, but he committed to the tour and we got through it. His shoulders were hurting, his arms were hurting, his elbows, his feet, everything, He didn’t want to play anything less than 100 percent."