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Rock World reacts to death of Rush’s Neil Peart

Neil Peart of Rush performs in concert at the Austin360 Amphitheater on May 16, 2015 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
Neil Peart of Rush performs in concert at the Austin360 Amphitheater on May 16, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)

The rock world — and the world in general — was stunned when it was announced on Friday (January 10th) that Rush drummer Neil Peart had lost a three-and-a-half year battle with brain cancer three days earlier on January 7th. The 67-year-old Canadian drummer, lyricist and author passed away in Santa Monica, California, just four-and-a-half years after he and Rush retired from the stage.

The surviving members of Rush, bassist/singer Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson, issued a statement on Friday in which they said their “friend, soul brother and bandmate of 45 years” was “incredibly brave” in the fight against his illness. Not too long after, an immense outpouring of grief-stricken tributes began from both fellow musicians and fans, for whom Peart was a lasting and monumental inspiration.

Foo Fighters main man and Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, who inducted Rush into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 and cited Peart as the reason he began playing drums, issued a statement saying, “Today, the world lost a true giant in the history of rock & roll. 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 ruled our radios and turntables not only with his drumming, but also his beautiful words.”

Grohl added, “Thank you, Neil, for making our lives a better place with your music. You will be forever remembered and sorely missed by all of us. And my heartfelt condolences to the Rush family.”

Foos drummer Taylor Hawkins said simply, “Neil Peart had the hands of God. End of story.”

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich wrote on Instagram, “Thank you Neil. Thank you for inspiring me and for all your help and advice along the way, especially in the early days when you took the time to talk to a young green Danish drummer about recording, gear and the possibilities that lay ahead… Thank you for what you did for drummers all over the world with your passion, your approach, your principles and your unwavering commitment to the instrument! Rest In Peace.”

Tool paid tribute to Peart during the band’s concert Friday night (January 10th) in San Diego, California. During Danny Carey‘s drum solo, a photo of Danny and Peart was projected on a massive screen behind the stage. Tool also played a partial cover of Rush’s “A Passage To Bangkok” in tribute to Peart, whose death was announced earlier in the day and who was a huge inspiration for Carey. 

Other alternative rock artists posted tributes or condolences on social media:

Red Hot Chili PeppersFlea: “I’m gonna go spend the day air drumming. R.I.P. Neil Peart. That dude f**king shredded.”

Smashing PumpkinsWilliam Corgan: “There isn’t a modern rock drummer alive who hasn’t heard him, and spoken his name with a reverence that’s reserved for the very few.”

Weezer‘s Patrick Wilson: “His dedication and RE-dedication to his craft is a lesson in always improving.”

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