Neil Peart – the legendary drummer and lyricist for the Canadian band Rush – passed away on Tuesday in Santa Monica, California, at the age of 67 after a three-and-a-half year battle with brain cancer. Band members Getty Lee and Alex Lifeson announced the news on the band’s Twitter page on Friday.

“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 three and a half year battle with brain cancer (Glioblastoma),” wrote the band.

They went on to ask friends, fans, and the media to respect the privacy of Peart’s family, which they need during this painful and difficult time. The band also told fans that if they wish to express their condolences, they could choose a cancer research group or charity and make a donation in Peart’s name.

Peart’s incredible talent on the drums, not to mention his habit of writing artful lyrics, helped make Rush one of the most popular bands on the planet. After he joined the band in 1974, they went on to sell millions of records, and they still have one of the most dedicated fan bases in music.

For his part, Peart is considered to be one of the greatest drummers in music history – if not the greatest – because of his technical expertise and unique performance style. Along with Rush, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Still, Peart continued to take drum lessons as recently as 2012.

“I’ve been put in this position, and I certainly don’t underrate that,” he told Rolling Stone. “I get to be a professional drummer … So it’s a full-time responsibility. It’s a joyous one and one I’m very grateful for.”

Peart retired from the band and from drumming in 2015.

Peart was born on September 12, 1952, and he learned the drums at an early age. He played with numerous bands in Canada before joining Rush, as he replaced their founding drummer John Rutsey. The only Rush album that Peart didn’t perform on was their debut self-titled LP. He started writing lyrics for the band in 1975 on their second album Fly by Night.

Neil Peart is survived by his wife Carrie, and his daughter, Olivia Louise. He was preceded in death by his daughter Selena Taylor, who tragically died in a car accident back in 1997.

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