Alongside frontman Sir Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards, Charlie Watts was one of the oldest members of the Rolling Stones.
Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has died aged 80, his publicist revealed today in a statement.
The rock music icon passed away just weeks after retiring from the band’s No Filter tour of North America following emergency heart surgery.
“It is with immense sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Charlie Watts,” a spokesperson for the musician wrote today.
âHe passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier in the day surrounded by his family. Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather and also as a member of the Rolling Stones one of the greatest drummers of his generation.
“We kindly ask that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends be respected at this difficult time.”
Watts, who is widely regarded as one of rock’s greatest drummers, had a “successful procedure” in London after a problem was discovered during a recent routine check-up.
His doctors deemed him unfit to join the rescheduled 13-date US tour – which was due to start next month – and prescribed weeks of “rest and recovery.”
Watts joked at the time, “For once my timing has been a bit off.”
“I am working hard to be in great shape, but I accepted today, on the advice of the experts, that it will take some time,” he added.
âAfter all the disappointment with the tour delays caused by Covid, I really don’t want the many Stones fans in the US who hold tickets to have another postponement or cancellation.â
The Rolling Stones aimed to bring him back for the band’s big 60th anniversary celebrations in 2022, when they release their first album of original songs in 17 years.
Sadly, Watts passed away before he could join his bandmates, his London publicist Bernard Doherty has confirmed.
Widely regarded as something of a spiritual linchpin, whose reason for performing has always been his constant love of music of all kinds, the Londoner has remained gloriously insensitive to the idea of ââfame. He was named 12th on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time list. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2006.
He had previously been a member of Blues Incorporated and had also toured with the Charlie Watts Quintet.
Alongside 78-year-old singer Sir Mick Jagger and 77-year-old guitarist Keith Richards, Watts was one of the oldest members of the Stones. The group has seen a wide range of musicians over its decades of history, including Mick Taylor, Ronnie Wood, and Bill Wyman.
In 2004 Watts was treated for throat cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London and given the green light after a four-month battle with the disease.
He had been diagnosed after discovering a lump on the left side of his neck and had undergone six weeks of intensive radiation therapy.
His spokesperson said at the time of his diagnosis that Watts’ treatment had “not interfered with the band’s touring or recording plans, which” relaxed between work engagements. “
After their recovery, the band began work on their 22nd studio album, A bigger blow.
Watts is survived by his wife of 57 years, Shirley Ann Shepherd, their daughter Seraphina and their granddaughter Charlotte.
The group is expected to resume touring the United States in September, after it was postponed last year amid the pandemic. Session and touring musician Steve Jordan was previously announced as Watts’ temporary replacement on drums.
Read Pat Carty’s tribute to “the man who made the Rolling Stones the Rolling Stones” here.
Heartfelt messages are already pouring in from other rock legends.
– #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) August 24, 2021
One of the best things about Charlie Watts?
He met his future wife Shirley even before the formation of the Rolling Stones. They married in 1964.
57 years old. pic.twitter.com/kn9Phxv01w
– Eric Alper ð§ (@ThatEricAlper) August 24, 2021
A very sad day. Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer. The smartest of men, and such a brilliant company. My deepest condolences to Shirley, Seraphina and Charlotte. And of course, the Rolling Stones.
– Elton John (@eltonofficial) August 24, 2021