LOS ANGELES – Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist of the Canadian rock group Rush, has died at 67 in California of brain cancer, the group announced Friday.
“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 battle with brain cancer, glioblastoma,” they said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Rush was founded in 1968 and Peart joined in 1974, replacing John Rutsey, alongside singer and bass player Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson.
After starting out in hard rock and moving gradually toward jazz rock, Peart was known for his flamboyant style, complex rhythms and precise technique, which won him a legion of admirers among professionals and fans.
Questlove, the drummer for hip-hop group The Roots, posted a black and white photo of Peart on Instagram sitting behind his imposing drum set, sending his condolences.
Danish drummer Lars Ulrich of Metallica also said on Instagram that Peart was a big inspiration for him.
Rush entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. The band sold 25 million albums in the United States.