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Late Rush legend Neil Peart © Getty

Legendary Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart has died after a heroic three-and-a-half year battle with brain cancer.

Family spokesperson Elliot Mintz has confirmed the influential drummer had been quietly battling the disease and sadly passed away in Santa Monica, California on Tuesday (7th January 2020). 

Rush have also released a statement on Twitter under the headline 'Neil Peart September 12, 1952 – January 7, 2020', which reads as follows: 

“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). 

“We ask that friends, fans, and media alike understandably respect the family’s need for privacy and peace at this extremely 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. 

“Rest in peace brother.” 

Neil Peart was widely - and rightfully - hailed as one of the greatest drummers of all time and was renowned for his technical prowess, expertise and inimitable style. In the live arena, he was celebrated for his unparalleled stamina behind the drum kit. 

A huge influence, he was regarded as the drummer's drummer and fused a variety of styles including jazz, Big Band and hard rock.

It's little wonder he was known as The Professor. 

The rock world pays tribute to Neil Peart 

Behold Neil Peart's incomparable magnificence during a Rush drum solo in Frankfurt: 


Rush have been inactive since their 40th anniversary R40 Live tour wrapped up in Inglewood, California in August 2015.

Neil Peart announced his retirement from the band immediately afterwards after being blighted by agonising pain from chronic tendonitis, a foot injury and shoulder problems throughout the 35 shows.

The Canadian trio had not revealed that he was battling brain cancer. 

Speaking to Trunk Nation in December 2018, Rush’s Geddy Lee said Neil Peart was no longer playing drums

Geddy explained: "(Neil) hasn't just retired from Rush; he's retired from drumming. He's not drumming anymore, and he's living his life. Which is fine. Alex (Lifeson) and I are cool with it.”

Neil Peart, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson

The vocalist/bassist continued: “We're all still total pals. In fact, Alex and I were there just a few weeks ago visiting him, and we stay in touch.

“And, of course, Alex lives very near to me, so we're constantly going out to dinner, 'cause he loves to drink everything in my wine cellar. We're still pals, and we all talk, but that period of our life is done."

Planet Rock DJ and resident Rush aficionado Darren Redick paid tribute to his idol, saying: "When I took my son to see Rush in 2012 at The NEC, the band saw to it that we got front and centre seats. I thought it would be a great introduction for Ollie but he kept sitting down. I asked if he was enjoying it and he said ‘yes, but the bass drum keeps hitting me in the chest!’

"That’s the closest I ever got to the reclusive Neil but I know every drum fill he ever recorded and read everything he ever published. I am so sad but yet glad that I ever got to see him play at all. I wish that I could live it all again! RIP Professor." 

Alongside Geddy and Alex, Neil Peart was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. 

Neil Peart is survived by his wife Carrie Nuttall, and daughter Olivia.

RIP Neil Peart. A true music legend.