UPDATE - 9/19@4:40PM: The members of Rush have posted a message addressing Skip's passing at Rush.com:
"The news of Russell 'Skip' Gildersleeve's passing is shocking and very, very sad. He was one of our original crew members from the mid-70s and we all have many great memories of his friendship, his sense of humour and his association with us over all those years. Our hearts and thoughts go out to his family and close friends. He will be missed."
Geddy, Alex and Neil
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There's some very sad Rush news to report this morning. Longtime Rush roadie Russell Skip Gildersleeve passed away yesterday at the age of 57. Skip was a roadie for Rush from way back in the early days up until 1997. Here's a short biography of Skip from the 2006 Rush biography Chemistry:
Russell "Skip" Gildersleeve is a crew veteran of many bands. He was brought in for the 'Caress of Steel' tour to replace Jimmy Johnson, And he often used to introduce the band. Skip, a.k.a. "Slider", became Geddy's bass technician, and by Counterparts he graduated to a stage management role. When not touring with Rush, he worked for Steely Dan (with Lorne Wheaton) as equipment manager, and guitar tech for Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. Skip is no mean guitar player himself. He guested on Japanese artist Venus Fly Trapp's debut CD 'Shakunetsu', which means "red heat".
There's no online obituary posted yet that I'm aware of, but his passing has been confirmed via a number of sources including his good friend and fellow Rush roadie Tony Jack Secret Geranios (pictured above right with Skip in 2012). On behalf of all RIAB readers, our thoughts and prayers go out to Skip's family and friends. You will be missed.