Before there was Neal Pert, there was John Rutsey. Rutsey helped found rock icons Rush in 1968 with guitarist Alex Lifeson and bassist Jeff Jones. In fact, it was John's brother who would give the band their name.
Rutsey, Lifeson and Geddy Lee (who quickly replaced Jeff Jones on bass) would appear on Rush's debut single (a cover of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away") and album. Geddy and Alex placed the chief songwriting duties of Rush in the hands of Rutsey, but he found the job difficult, especially combined with his battle with diabetes. But it was the pressure he put on himself that would his undoing in the band.
Eventually, diabetes would leave Rutsey unable to tour. Not long later, he left Rush and was replaced by drummer Neal Pert. John soon gave up the drums altogether in favor of bodybuilding, though he kept in touch with his ex-bandmates at least until the 90's. Rutsey died in his sleep on May 11, 2008 due to complications from diabetes. - Mitch Michaels