Pat Torpey, drummer and founding member of the American rock group Mr. Big, passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
He died of complications from Parkinson’s disease, according to an announcement from the band on Thursday.
He was 64 years old at the time of death.
“Family, band, and management request privacy at this very difficult time. Services are pending,” the band said, in part on social media.
Billy Sheehan, the band’s bassist, wrote a touching tribute on Facebook. He said that Torpey was “one of the finest human beings I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing and the honor of working with.”
“All of us in Mr. Big had nothing but the highest respect and admiration for him. He is loved by anyone and everyone who ever met him. And surely one of the finest rock drummers the world has ever known” Sheehan wrote.
On a Facebook fan page for Mr. Big one fan wrote that Torpey’s musical influence and character have “inspired us all in many different ways.”
According to Billboard, Torpey was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2014 but still persevered and played with the band as a background vocalist. He also contributed to percussion.
Mr. Big’s self-titled debut record was released in 1989. It’s second record, 1991’s “Lean Into It,” hit No. 15 on the Billboard 200 chart at the time.
In 2002 the group split up but later reunited in 2009, according to Billboard. The band has released three albums since then and the most recent one “Defying Gravity” was released in July 2017.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder—the brain cells progressively die, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Symptoms include tremors, rigidity, extreme slowness of movement and impaired balance. An estimated 50,000 people are diagnosed with the disease in the United States each year, the rate of the disease also increases in older adults.
Richie Kotzen, a former member of the group from 1999 to 2002, shared his condolences on Instagram.
“So saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and former bandmate Pat Torpey,” he wrote. “We spent years touring the world, making music, family holiday gatherings, and even remodeled a house together.”
So saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and former band mate Pat Torpey. We spent years touring the world, making music, family holiday gatherings, and even remodeled a house together. Pat’s sense of humor, wit, and smile lit up any room the moment he walked in. I am grateful and thankful to have had you as an incredibly important friend and influence in my life. You will be missed beyond words. With love and tears… Rest In Peace my friend.