The rock world was stunned Friday afternoon when it was revealed that iconic Rush drummer Neil Peart had passed away days earlier following a private three-and-a-half-year battle with a brain tumor.
Peart was a groundbreaking drummer and unique lyricist who inspired legions of musicians over his 40-plus-year Rush career with his meticulous approach to his instrument.
Rush bassist and front man Geddy Lee paid tribute to his longtime friend and partner in a social post Friday evening.
"It is with broken hearts and the deepest sadness that we must share the terrible news that on Tuesday our friends, 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)," Lee wrote. "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."
Lee concluded the statement: "Rest in peace, my brother."
Peart, Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson have kept in close touch since Rush's final 'R40' tour, which wrapped up in 2015.
While the retirement was a mutual decision, it was primarily motivated by Peart's chronic back issues, which made performing to his astonishing standard an increasingly painful prospect. The famously stoic drummer also cited a desire to spend as much time with his family as possible.
While Lee and Lifeson have been involved in a handful of projects since ending Rush's live career, Peart stayed away from the lighted stage entirely and was rumored to have stopped playing drums altogether.
In September, Lee wrote a lengthy statement celebrating Peart's birthday, calling him one of the "greatest" drummers in the world.
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