John Rutsey, a founding member of Toronto rock band Rush, passed away this weekend according to Rush management company Anthem Entertainment. He was 55.Rutsey was famous for playing on Rush’s 1974 debut album, including the song 'In The Mood', before deciding to leave the group due to health concerns. Rutsey suffered from diabetes and was unable to go on extended tours with the group. Rutsey was replaced by dummer Neil Peart, which marked a turning point in the band’s sound towards progressive rock. Rush formed in 1968 in Toronto and was originally composed of guitarist Alex Lifeson, bassist Jeff Jones (who shortly thereafter was replaced by Geddy Lee) and Rutsey. According to a 1989 interview with Alex Lifeson on the Rockline Radio program quoted by Wikipedia.org, Rutsey, “gave up playing (drums) shortly after he left the band and went into bodybuilding. He competed on an amateur level for a while, doing that for a few years.”
Rutsey died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack, possibly related to complications from diabetes. Rutsey's family wish to keep the funeral a private affair, although an obituary posted in the Toronto Star on May 15 suggested those wishing to pay tribute to Rutsey could do so by making a donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Ontario.