In a recent interview, Godsmack frontman Sully Erna said Neil Peart couldn’t talk before his death.
This lead to a lot of speculation on the drummer’s health in his final days.
Donna Halper — the woman who is credited with discovering RUSH while working at an Ohio radio station back in 1974 — says it is “inaccurate” to say that drummer Neil Peart was unable to speak in the months leading up to his death.
Halper took to her Twitter to write:
“Sad to say, there are some rumors about Neil Peart‘s final months circulating on social media. The vast majority are inaccurate. As for me, I choose to remember Neil as he was, and I want to respect his family’s privacy during this difficult time.”
She added in follow-up tweets:
“Normally, I would remain silent and let people say what they want to say, but this is different. My friendship with RUSH is something I take very seriously, and I will defend the truth as much as I can. It’s the least I can do.
“But it ended the way he wanted, surrounded by his family & best friends. (By the way, he was able to speak, almost till the very end, I am told.) Anyway, I’m just sorry there is no cure for the kind of cancer he had. May he rest in peace.
“That’s the only reason I decided to say something. I hope folks understand. This is not about me. It’s about respecting Neil‘s memory and letting him rest in peace.
“Yes, it is true that Neil fought his disease bravely. This kind of cancer has taken a number of wonderful people from us. But he never gave up, and he did not want folks to know how sick he was.
“I don’t know whether he had the energy to keep a journal. But I do know that claims he couldn’t speak are not accurate. I assume if he wrote anything, it will come out eventually. I don’t think this is the right time for me to ask, however.
“I was there for it all, from 1974 till they stopped performing as a band. We’ve kept in touch for more than forty-five years, and I feel very fortunate to be even a small part of their story.
“I’ve been friends with the members of the band (and in some cases, their families) for more than four decades. It’s something that means a lot to me. So, I’m getting my information from folks who were there, is all I’m saying.”