On January 7, Neil Peart, the drummer and primary lyricist for the Canadian rock group Rush, died of glioblastoma, bringing a rare spotlight to this form of brain cancer.
Glioblastoma manifests as very aggressive tumors that usually recur after surgical removal. Other treatments, generally chemotherapy or radiotherapy, are generally used after surgery to try to slow such a recurrence.
The cancer gets its name from the glial cells, which surround the brain’s neurons and — when healthy — provide them with oxygen and nutrients. The tumors arise from the glial cells.
Peart, regarded by many as the greatest rock drummer of his generation, retired from Rush in December 2015. He was diagnosed with this cancer in the middle of the following year. Since the average prognosis is of about 16 months of life after diagnosis, Peart may be said to have beaten the odds. Through his final three and a half years, only his family and close friends were aware of his illness.
In Pill Form:
Getty Lee and Alex Lifeson, Peart’s bandmates, suggested that fans “wishing to express their condolences can choose a cancer research group … and make a donation in Neil’s name.”