LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — Pat Torpey, who was best known as the drummer and founding member of the hard rock band Mr. Big, passed away on Wednesday, February 7th. He was 64.
A statement from Torpey’s publicist said that he died from complications of Parkinson’s disease.
A native of Cleveland, Torpey picked up the sticks at the tender age of seven and when his family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, he started to perform in local bands, in formats ranging from jazz to pop.
In 1983, he moved to Los Angeles and started performing professionally, working with acts such as Mike + The Mechanics and Belinda Carlyle, joining her for her first solo tour, opening for Robert Palmer.
Torpey was playing for The Knack when he met Bill Sheehan (formerly with David Lee Roth) and Paul Gilbert (Racer X) when the two approached him about starting a new group Mr. Big, and with the help of manager Herbie Herbert, the group soon landed a recording contract with Atlantic Records.
Mr. Big’s early releases found modest success, most notably in Japan, but they had their first big commercial breakthrough in the U.S. with their second album, which featured hits such as “To Be with You” (which went to number one in fifteen countries) and “Just Take My Heart.” However, subsequent releases failed to find similar traction and following departures of Gilbert and Sheehan from the group, they disbanded in 2002.
In 2008, Mr. Big reformed, leading to international tours and several albums of new material, the most recent being 2017’s “Defying Gravity” which featured drumming by Matt Starr, with Torpey serving as the album’s “drum producer due to his battle with Parkinson’s.
“I’ve been dealing with Parkinson’s symptoms for the past couple of years and only recently received a confirmed diagnosis as symptoms worsened,” Torpey said in 2014 while announcing his battle with the illness. “I intend to fight the disease with same intensity and tenacity that I drum and live my life by and will continue recording and performing, as always, to the best of my ability.”
Details about Torpey’s memorial service was not announced at the time of press.