Longtime Rush drummer and lyricist, Neil Peart, died Tuesday, January 7th at age 67, after a three-and-a-half-year battle with brain cancer. The news hadn’t been announced until earlier today, including an official announcement from the band, “with broken hearts and deepest sadness” they share the terrible news about their friend and soul brother :

Peart grew up in Ontario Canada, floating between regional bands before spending a short time in England to concentrate on music. It wasn’t until he returned home that he joined a local Toronto band named Rush in the summer of 1974. Replacing its original drummer, John Rutsey, Neil joined Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson just two weeks before the group’s first tour of the United States. It was just one year later, in 1975, that Rush took home the “Breakthrough Group” Juno Award.

In the years since, Rush been nominated for seven Grammy Awards, has won several more Juno Awards, and won an International Achievement Award at the 2009 SOCAN Awards (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada). Rush’s total worldwide album sales at over 40 million units as of 2017. The group has received 24 gold, 14 platinum, and 3 multi-platinum albums.

Because of his incredible musicianship and complex compositions, many consider Neil Peart to be the greatest drummer of all time. In 1983, Peart was inducted in the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame, making him the youngest ever inductee. He announced his retirement from music in December of 2015, after completing the Rush R40 tour earlier that year — a tour that commemorated the 40th anniversary of the release of the band’s self-titled debut album.

A perfect example of Peart’s amazing talent can be seen in this clip from Rush’s R30: 30th Anniversary Tour DVD, recorded on September 24, 2004 at the Festhalle Frankfurt, Germany.