Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist for rock band Rush, dies at 67

Neil Peart, Rush

FILE – This Aug. 1, 2015 file photo shows Neil Peart of Rush performing during the final show of the R40 Tour in Los Angeles. Peart, the renowned drummer and lyricist from the band Rush, has died. His rep Elliot Mintz said in a statement Friday that he died at his home Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 67. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP, File)

Neil Peart, the prodigiously talented drummer and eclectic primary lyricist for the Canadian rock band Rush, died on Tuesday in Santa Monica, California, according to a family spokesman. He was 67.

The cause of death was brain cancer, which he had been battling quietly for three years, according to spokesman, Elliot Mintz.

Peart was considered one of the most gifted and electrifying drummers in pop music history, a virtuosic stylist and technical master who inspired a cult following with his dazzling fusions of hard rock and jazz.

He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1983, when he was in his late 30s.

He was born on Sept. 12, 1952, and took up drumming as a teenager.

Canadian progressive rock group Rush, Bakersfield, Calif on Sept. 26, 1977. From left to right: guitarist Alex Lifeson, bassist Geddy Lee and drummer Neil Peart.
Fin Costello / Redferns

He drew elements of his technique from the hard-driving rock of The Who and Led Zeppelin, as well as the zesty swing of jazz and big-bang music, ultimately perfecting an intricately layered but rigorously precise style all his own.

Peart was devastated by two tragedies in the late 1990s: his first daughter, Selena Taylor, died in a car accident near Ontario in 1997, and his common-law wife of 23 years, Jacqueline Taylor, died of cancer in June 1998.

The celebrated drummer announced his retirement from professional music in late 2015, after the conclusion of the R40 Live Tour. “It does pain me to realize that, like all athletes, there comes a time to … take yourself out of the game,” he told Drumhead Magazine.

Peart is survived by his wife, Carrie, and their daughter, Olivia Louise Peart. Mintz said funeral plans were pending.

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