Sons of Apollo drummer Mike Portnoy (also former Dream Theater drummer) has shared a really rare photo of himself with Rush drummer and lyricist, Neil Peart, via his verified and official Instagram account.

The iconic Canadian prog-rock band Rush has died. He was just 67 years old. His death was announced Friday by spokesperson Elliot Mintz, who said that Peart died on January 7 in Santa Monica, Calif. Peart had been diagnosed with brain cancer three and a half years ago.

Today, Mike Portnoy has shared a photo of himself with Neil Peart on his Instagram page and written an emotional letter about Neil Peart after his death. And also, Mike has told what he lived with Neil Peart while they were together.

Here’s what Mike wrote:

“It absolutely breaks my heart to pieces to get the news of the passing of one of my greatest heroes of all time. Neil Peart will always be a mentor and a hero to me and his influence on me as a drummer for the past 40 years is absolutely impossible to measure.

But beyond that, over the past 15 years or so, he’s become a friend…always such a gentleman and a gracious host. Always inviting me to come to soundcheck and spend some time before the show whenever Rush was passing through. Always sending complimentary copies of his new books or Holiday emails with pictures of he and his young daughter Olivia.

I have so many memories through the years, but probably the most Special was the last time I saw him. I took my son Max to see Rush on their farewell tour as I wanted him to see the band before they retired…Neil ever the incredible gracious host invited us to soundcheck, let Max play his drums, gave him a pair of sticks and an autographed snare drum head and opened up his dressing room to us for the evening.

The point is if you were his guest you were family.
I could go on and on and on but I need to process this.
Sadly, I’ve known about Neil’s declining health for a few years now and always feared this news…but I am still shaken to the core in shock.

My deepest condolences go out to Geddy and Alex, to Carrie and Olivia, to Michael and Lorne and Chris S, to Ray and Pegi, and to all of his faithful fans all around the world of which I will always be one of the biggest.

Rest In Peace Bubba
You’ll always be my hero 😥
RIP Neil Peart.”

You can see the Instagram post right below.

View this post on Instagram

It absolutely breaks my heart to pieces to get the news of the passing of one of my greatest heroes of all time. Neil Peart will always be a mentor and a hero to me and his influence on me as a drummer for the past 40 years is absolutely impossible to measure. But beyond that, over the past 15 years or so, he’s become a friend…always such a gentleman and a gracious host. Always inviting me to come to soundcheck and spend some time before the show whenever Rush was passing through. Always sending complimentary copies of his new books, or Holiday emails with pictures of he and his young daughter Olivia. I have so many memories through the years, but probably the most Special was the last time I saw him. I took my son Max to see Rush on their farewell tour as I wanted him to see the band before they retired…Neil ever the incredible gracious host invited us to soundcheck, let Max play his drums, gave him a pair of sticks and an autographed snare drum head and opened up his dressing room to us for the evening. The point is, if you were his guest you were family. I could go on and on and on but I need to process this. Sadly, I’ve known about Neil’s declining health for a few years now and always feared this news…but I am still shaken to the core in shock. My deepest condolences go out to Geddy and Alex, to Carrie and Olivia, to Michael and Lorne and Chris S, to Ray and Pegi, and to all of his faithful fans all around the world of which I will always be one of the biggest. Rest In Peace Bubba You’ll always be my hero 😥 RIP Neil Peart

A post shared by Mike Portnoy (@mikeportnoy) on