Rolling Stones’ drummer Charlie Watts has died aged 80, his publicist has confirmed.
The statement issued read, ‘It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts. He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today 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 request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time.
It’s unknown if his cause of death has any connection to his 2004 throat cancer diagnosis.
The news of his passing comes after the late drummer recently pulled out of the band’s US tour to recover from a procedure earlier this month.
The nature of the procedure went unreported, but a spokesperson for the drummer said it was ‘completely successful’.
Despite the surgery having gone well, the spokesperson said Watts, who turned 80 in June, needed time to recover, The Guardian reports.
They said in a statement at the time, ‘With rehearsals starting in a couple of weeks it’s very disappointing to say the least, but it’s also fair to say no one saw this coming.’
Watts insisted that his recovery didn’t delay the tour in light of the pandemic having stopped live music performance, postponing many artists’ and bands’ tours.
He said, ‘After all the fans’ suffering caused by COVID, I really do not want the many [Stones] fans who have been holding tickets for this tour to be disappointed by another postponement or cancellation. I have therefore asked my great friend Steve Jordan to stand in for me.’
It’s currently unknown if the band will go through with the tour, which is set to begin next month, in the wake of Watts’s passing.
People have since taken to social media to pay tribute to the late drummer, with Watts having been a member of the Rolling Stones since 1963.
Singer Sheryl Crow wrote, ‘A hero is gone. No words. A huge gaping hole in the universe. RIP Charlie Watts.’
Entertainment publicist Danny Deraney, who did the band’s PR for a number of years, wrote, ‘You will never find a man like Charlie Watts. A kind soft spoken soul with a wicked sense of humor. The best time keeper in rock history.’
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677