Mike Portnoy said about:
“I’ve known for about two years now and was held to secrecy. It was something that he and everybody in his camp, obviously, went to great lengths to keep private and keep secret. And that was Neil – he was a very, very private guy.”
“Even though I’ve known for this amount of time and I kind of have had time to psychologically prepare for, knowing that it was inevitably coming, it didn’t make it any less shocking. … It just took the wind out of me when I heard it on Friday. It was a shock for the whole rest of the world that didn’t know about this.”
He spent sometime re-reading old Peart’s e-mails:
“You’ve read his books, you’ve read his tour programs, you’ve read his blogs on his website, and that’s the way he wrote even in his emails. So whenever I would get an email from him, it was very, very lengthy, very thorough, went into a lot of details of whatever he was going through.”
They seen each other for the last time in 2015, during Rush’s farewell tour when Peart let Portnoy’s son play his drum kit.
They exchanged two emails after that, the most recent a year ago.
About Peart’s death, he said:
“This one’s a big one for me, personally. I haven’t felt like this since maybe John Lennon or John Bonham or Frank Zappa. It hits on that level as a fan, as it does for millions of Rush fans around the world. But this has a whole new level for me as well, because I didn’t know John Lennon or John Bonham or Frank Zappa, but Neil I did know and had a relationship with. So there’s that whole level as well, which just makes it horrible.”