Story by Jakob Kaiser
It was announced to the public on Jan. 7 that music lost one of its greatest members; the family of legendary drummer Neil Peart revealed he had passed away earlier that day at the age of 67 after a three-year-long battle with brain cancer.
For those who don’t recognize the name, Peart was best known for playing with the Canadian prog rock band Rush for over 46 years. Becoming an international sensation, Peart was known for his intricate drum solos and the 31-piece drum set which he hauled to just about every show.
Even though he was a global drumming icon, he was also humble and somewhat personal man, keeping to himself, his close family and friends. Even when he was touring, rather than ride the tour bus with fellow band members Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, he would ride his motorcycle from show to show by himself — not because he didn’t like being around his bandmates — simply because being on his motorcycle is where he felt most comfortable. Peart would also take hundreds of pictures on these long motorcycle rides which he then compiled into several books.
Peart endured many hardships throughout his life, most notably when his daughter was killed in a car crash at the age of 19 and then just 10 months later when his common-law wife of 23 years passed away due to cancer — or as Peart stated, “a broken heart.” After this happened Peart seemed to want to pull himself away from the limelight, even telling Lee and Lifeson that he was going to retire. After a 55,000 mile motorcycle journey along with the support of his family and friends, he was able to keep moving forward; he even went on to remarry in 2000 and had a second daughter in 2009. Peart also rejoined Rush with their release of Vapor Trails.
In the end, Neil Peart died a good man, and as thousands mourn the death of a man that inspired them to turn to music in the first place, time seems to stand still as we look to the sky and say our farewells to a king.
Rest in Peace
Neil Ellwood Peart
September 12, 1952 — January 7, 2020