Neil Peart, the legendary drummer and lyricist for the innovative rock band Rush, died on Jan. 7 at age 67, according to an official statement by Rush on Friday. Peart, who died in Santa Monica, California, had been battling brain cancer for over three years.
"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 incredible brave three and a half year battle with brain cancer (glioblastoma)," Rush said in a statement on Friday. "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. Rest in peace brother."
Performing alongside singer-bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson in the progressive rock band Rush, Peart not only created a new kind of drumming that would influence musicians for decades, but was also an accomplished lyricist who would reference everything from classic literature to science fiction in his songs.
In the song Cygnus X-1, for instance, he references an astronomical adventure into the heart of a black hole.
Fellow musicians and fans -- including Foo Fighters' Davd Grohl, Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, Metallica's Kirk Hammett, Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler, actor Jack Black, Questlove, rapper Chuck D, Superchunk's Mac McCaughan, drummer Josh Freese and others -- took to social media to pay tribute to the legendary drummer.
"Today the world lost a true giant in the history of rock and roll," Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl posted on Instagram. "An inspiration to millions with an unmistakable sound who spawned generations of musicians (like myself) to pick up two sticks and chase a dream. A kind, thoughtful, brilliant man who rules our radios and turntables not only with this drumming, but also his beautiful words."
"I just heard about Neil Peart passing," Beach Boys' Brian Wilson tweeted. "I feel real bad about this. He was way too young. Neil was one of the great drummers and he'll be missed. Love and mercy to Neil's family."
Tweeted rock musician Mark Slaughter, "Rush's music influenced me and so many musicians as a composer, lyricist and rock's most meticulous drummer ever. Thank you Neil."
Said actor and musician Jack Black, "The master will be missed."
"What a brilliant and wonderful man," rock bassist Billy Sheehan tweeted. "He left his mark on the world, music, drumming and so much more. With absolute love and Respect, Rest In Peace."