Rush drummer Neil Peart has died at the age of 67, shocking fans and the music world. The legendary drummer and lyricist had been battling brain cancer for years and finally passed on January 7, with the official announcement coming Friday.
One of my favorite days ever doing TV at VH1 Classic back in 2006. Spent the day doing an hour interview w/Neil Peart @rushtheband . Hope someone finds it & reposts online. 1 of the nicest most grounded people I ever met. #RIPNealPeart . Photo Billy Tompkins pic.twitter.com/jMinndUYgk— Eddie Trunk (@EddieTrunk) January 10, 2020
To say that his death stunned fans is an understatement. Despite his diagnosis, it wasn't a thought that crossed many minds and the reactions on Friday show just that. Many fans were devastated by the death, even saying it adds to a year that has kicked off as sour as can be.
The band released a statement addressing the passing, giving fans a place to send their grief as well.
"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 band wrote in a statement. "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. Those wishing to express their condolences can choose a cancer research group or charity of their choice and make a donation in Neil's name. Rest in peace brother."
Fans didn't hold back their feelings, opening up about the drummer's legacy and influence under the statement.
"I'm crying. Grown ass man who never cries but this really hurts," one fan wrote.
Seeing Neil Peart play live like this with Rush back in 2011 was breathtaking. The way he played - melodic and polyrhythmic - truly redefined “rock legend.” Thank you for keeping such extraordinary time, Mr. Peart. Your beat will most certainly go on. RIP. #neilpeart #rush #GOAT pic.twitter.com/kHIwbcQibM— Trey Callaway (@TreyCallaway) January 10, 2020
"That mans lyrics helped me through everything bit of s— in my life. Rest in eternal peace, you earned it," another added.
"Deepest sympathies to the family including Geddy and Alex. Thank you for all the years of inspired artistry Rush had given us finding a home in the hearts millions upon millions of fans. Love you guys," a third responded.
"Growing up as a shy kid in the 70s and troubled teen in the 80s, Rush was one of the very few fav bands for me as I discovered rock music. Saw them in concert 86. This one is hard. Thank you Rush. Thank you Neil," another fan admitted.
There were also several famous fans who shared their thoughts of the late drummer and his influence.
"Over 20 years ago, one of my best friends John Kastner brought Neil Peart to my house in Laurel Canyon. We stayed up all night drinking whiskey and talking on more subjects than I knew existed," Kids in The Hall member Dave Foley wrote. "He was the friendliest curmudgeon in the world. We'll miss him."
FAREWELL KING... RIP Neil Peart. An inarguably legendary musician and possibly the greatest drummer of all time. ❤️❤️❤️— Blake Anderson (@UncleBlazer) January 10, 2020
"F— this timeline. Definition of gut punched. I feel like I just lost my cool uncle. My cool uncle that was also the best rock drummer to ever live. So sad there will never be Rush 50, still thought I'd see them one last time in Toronto doing a one off. RIP Neil Peart," comedian Brian Posehn added.
"Pound for pound greatest of all time. There will never be another like him," actor Jay Baruchel wrote.
RIP Neil Peart, iconic drummer and lyricist for RUSH— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 10, 2020
Peart is one of a few major names to pass away in the opening days of 2020. The Graduate writer and SNL mainstay Buck Henry died earlier this weekend and actor Edd Byrnes from Grease.