was a founding member of the Canadian rock band Rush
. The drummer formed the band in 1968 with guitarist Alex Lifeson
and bassist Jeff Jones, who would soon be replaced by Geddy Lee
. The name Rush
was actually suggested by John
's brother Bill during a band meeting in the Rutsey family basement. He appeared on the band's debut single, a rendition of Buddy Holly
's "Not Fade Away," in 1973, and on their self-titled debut which followed in 1974. He was unanimously chosen as the head lyricist for the band, but became frustrated with the job and failed to produce much text. This, combined with a fight against diabetes that kept him from touring, found him exiting the group in late 1974 and replaced by Neil Peart
fought diabetes for the rest of life and passed away from complications related to the disease on May 11, 2008.