Rush drummer Neil Peart loses battle with brain cancer

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Neil Peart of Rush poses in the press room at the 28th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on April 18, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart died of brain cancer in Santa Monica this week at the age of 67, a family spokesman confirmed Friday.

The Canadian musician, who grew up about 70 miles from Toronto and had lived in Santa Monica for several years, succumbed Tuesday to glioblastoma, which he had fought for 3 1/2 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 incredibly brave 3 1/2 year battle with brain cancer,” Rush singer-bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson said in a statement posted on the band’s Twitter page.

“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.”

Rush was formed in 1968, and Peart replaced original drummer John Rutsey in 1974, days before the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band’s first tour of the United States. The band’s last tour was in 2015.

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

He was preceded in death by his daughter Selena, who was killed at age 19 in a car crash in Toronto, and her mother, Jackie, who died five months later of cancer.

Funeral plans were pending, said family spokesman Elliot Mintz.

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