Neil Peart, the virtuoso drummer of iconic Canadian band Rush who was revered by fans and fellow musicians as one of the greatest drummers of all time, has died at age 67.
The influential musician and lyricist died Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif., after having been diagnosed with brain cancer, according to a statement issued Friday by family spokesperson Elliot Mintz.
His death was confirmed by Meg Symsyk, a media spokesperson for the progressive rock trio comprising Peart, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson.
"It is with broken hearts and the deepest sadness that we must share the terrible news that on Tuesday our friend, soul brother and bandmate of over 45 years, Neil, has lost his incredibly brave three-and-a-half-year battle with brain cancer," his bandmates said in a statement.
They also called for privacy for Peart's family and urged fans wanting to express their condolences to make a donation in his name to a cancer research group or charity of their choice.
"Rest in peace, brother."
Along with penning impressive lyrics, Peart was renowned for his remarkable proficiency on drums (he famously employed a complex drum kit that completely surrounded him) and expertly weaving together techniques from different musical genres, blending jazz and big band with hard rock.
After the Hamilton, Ont.-born, St. Catharines, Ont.-raised Peart joined bandmates Lee and Lifeson in 1974, his virtuoso drumming helped lift Rush to new musical heights.
The band attracted a loyal, worldwide fanbase, sold millions of records and influenced a multitude of rock musicians with its complex, literary music.