Mr. Big founding member and drummer Pat Torpey has died at the age 64 from complications 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 social media late Thursday (Feb 8th).
“I’m sorry to be the bearer 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 Parkinson’s disease. Pat was one the finest human beings I’ve ever had the privilege knowing, and the honor working with.,” Sheehan writes.
“All 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 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 the wonderful music he was part 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 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 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 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 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.