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Mr. Big drummer Pat Torpey dies aged 64

Pat Torpey © Rex/Shutterstock

Pat Torpey, drummer and co-founding member of Mr. Big, has died at the age of 64.

A statement from the band confirmed that Pat died from complications of Parkinson’s disease on Wednesday (7th February). He was first diagnosed with the degenerative disorder in 2014.

Mr. Big said: “With breaking hearts we tell you that our brother, friend, drummer and founding member, Pat, passed away Wednesday, February 7 from complications of Parkinson’s disease. Family, band and management request privacy at this very difficult time. Services are pending.”

Mr. Big bassist Billy Sheehan said: “Pat Torpey has been my closest friend in music for over 30 years. He passed away yesterday from complications as a result of Parkinson's disease.

"Pat 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.

"Please keep his sweet wife and wonderful son in your prayers."

"I love you, Pat. You made the world a better place. We will miss you. We will never forget you. Rest in peace, my brother."

Former Mr. Big guitarist Richie Kotzen stated: "So saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and former bandmate 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."

Born in Cleveland on 13th December 1953, Pat began playing drums at the tender age of 7 and obsessively immersed himself in drumming and musicianship throughout his school years.

He moved to Los Angeles in 1983 and became a regular fix performing on TV shows including American Bandstand and Solid Gold where he played with guests including Ben E. King, Roger Daltrey and Mike + The Mechanics.

In the late eighties he was asked to perform with The Knack and while gigging around Los Angeles with them, Billy Sheehan and Paul Gilbert spotted his talents and asked him to join the new band they were forming - Mr. Big. 

He released eight studio albums with Mr. Big from their 1989 self-titled debut through to last year’s ‘Defying Gravity’. Due to his Parkinson’s disease, Matt Starr played drums on most 'Defying Gravity' tracks with Pat credited as “drum producer.”

Due to Mr. Big’s immense popularity in Japan, Pat released two solo albums there – 1998’s ‘Odd Man Out’ and 1999’s ‘Odd Man Out: Y2K’.

Pat collaborated with an array of artists including Richie Kotzen and Ted Nugent and performed drums with Robert Plant on his Now and Zen tour when the Led Zeppelin vocalist’s drummer Chris Blackwell was suffering from an injury. 

RIP Pat Torpey. 

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