Torpey had Parkinson’s for four years
Mr. Big founding member and drummer Pat Torpey has died at the age of 64 from complications of Parkinson’s disease. Family, band and management request privacy at this very difficult time. Services are pending.
Mr. Big bandmate and bassist Billy Sheehan shared the news via social media late Thursday (Feb 8th).
“I’m sorry to be the bearer of such sad news. Pat Torpey has been my closest friend in music for over thirty years. He passed away yesterday [Wed, Feb 7th] 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.,” Sheehan writes.
“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.”
The group’s label, Frontiers Music Srl, also shared the news, stating, “Heartbreaking. Just heartbreaking. What an absolutely wonderful talent Pat Torpey was. Our hearts go out to his family and Mr Big bandmates. Please spend some time in the coming days listening to some of the wonderful music he was part of over the years. R.I.P. Pat Torpey.”
Last summer, Torpey and the band toured behind their most recent album, Defying Gravity. The group enlisted Matt Starr for drums after Torpey’s diagnosis in 2014. We spoke with Torpey exclusively about how the disease had affected his career.
“I’m not the drummer I once was and I’ve kinda been able to wrap my mind around that and move on. I’m sure you’re probably aware, Matt Starr is coming out with us and he plays most of the drums, but I play percussion and sing. And I love singing and I love making music so I’m still here. There was a time that I was first diagnosed,” he tells me. “It’s a really shocking thing to have somebody tell you that you can’t do what you love to do for the last four years of your life. So I went through a time where I was pretty depressed about it, but the guys in the band just told me, ‘No, we want you out there, you’re an important part of the band and we want you to be there, so let’s figure a way to make it work and we did. So I’m really grateful for that.”
Mr. Big — Torpey, Sheehan, Eric Martin and Paul Gilbert — formed in 1988 and produced numerous hit songs that ranged across a wide array of rock genres. Their hits included “Alive and Kicking,” “Just Take My Heart” and the chart-topping ballad, “To Be With You” (Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single in 15 countries for weeks in 1991, propelling the band the band to huge international success and multi-Platinum record sales).
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Torpey, his family and bandmates.
Many music industry vets have taken to social media to share their condolences about Torpey’s passing.
RIP Pat Torpey @mrbigmusic . Pat was a talented musician and super nice guy. Got to spend some time with him in recent years. Very sad. Condolences to his band members, family and fans.
— Eddie Trunk (@EddieTrunk) February 9, 2018
So shocked and saddened to hear of #PatTorpey’s passing…my heart goes out to his family and all of his bandmates and friends who I know are all completely devastated over this…my deepest condolences @BillyonBass, @PaulGilbertRock @Richie_Kotzen Eric Martin @mrbigmusic 😢 pic.twitter.com/DTYti7urqq
— Mike Portnoy 🤘 (@MikePortnoy) February 9, 2018
So saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and former band mate Pat Torpey. We spent… https://t.co/Os6Fx9y4LU
— Richie Kotzen (@Richie_Kotzen) February 9, 2018
RIP: Pat Torpey @mrbigmusic
A beautiful human and outstanding musician.
— Kip Winger (@KipWinger) February 9, 2018
Just heard the news of @mrbigmusic Pat Torpey passing. So very sad to hear and such an amazing person and drummer. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, band and fans worldwide. We love you Pat and Godspeed dear friend🙏
— MichaelSweet Stryper (@michaelhsweet) February 9, 2018
Just heard the news of Pat Torpey’s passing.. I was blessed to know him and tour with he and Mr Big in 1992.
A solid Gentleman and one amazing drummer/vocalist!
Rest In Peace Brother…
— Deen Castronovo (@DeenTheDrummer) February 9, 2018
We are very sad to hear this news. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Pat Torpey. We knew him as the drummer for @mrbigmusic but he contributed to so many projects [Robert Plant, Montrose, The Knack] and was so well-respected. https://t.co/wAB33NPWhH
— Hair Nation (@SXMHairnation) February 9, 2018
the drumming world and the music world morns with the passing of @mrbigmusic #PatTorpey .To know him, was to know a sweetheart of a human and one of the most talented drummers of our generation. my heart goes out to his family on this sad sad day. pic.twitter.com/M2XHCW5yYa
— Phil Varone (@REALPHILVARONE) February 9, 2018
It breaks our hearts to learn that we have, once again, lost a treasured member of our family. Rest In Peace,… https://t.co/FdwYRFRRw4
— The KnacK (@Knackrophilia) February 9, 2018