Neil Peart has died at age 67.
As the drummer and primary lyricist of the iconic Canadian band Rush, he was known for his technical proficiency and for incorporating jazz and swing elements into a hard-rock style.
According to a family spokesperson, Peart died on Jan. 7 in Santa Monica, Calif., after a battle with brain cancer.
Peart grew up in Port Dalhousie, Ont. He joined Rush in 1974, solidifying the Toronto band’s classic, long-running lineup alongside bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson.
Peart announced his retirement in 2015.
Over the course of 50 years, Rush has been nominated for seven Grammy Awards and has won numerous Junos. The group has 24 gold, 14 platinum and three multi-platinum records. Rush was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
Peart’s drumming style was originally inspired by hard-rock performers such as Keith Moon and John Bonham, but he later began to emulate jazz musicians Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich.
“As much as you had to confront Rush as a young person in Canada in those years, what you were also dealing with was one of the greatest drummers who ever lived,” says JAZZ.FM91 music director and on-air host Brad Barker. “There was pride in the fact that the music you loved was being made by Canadians. It made the pride and love even more profound, because there was a tangibility to the greatness. It was homegrown.”
In 1983, Peart became the youngest person ever to be inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.
Peart leaves his wife Carrie and daughter Olivia, among others.