Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts dies aged 80

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has died at the age of 80, his publicist says.

In a statement, Bernard Doherty said: “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.

Charlie Watts in 1968
Image: Charlie Watts in 1968

“We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time.”

Watts, who celebrated his 80th birthday in June, joined The Rolling Stones in 1963.

Charlie Watts has died aged 80
Image: Charlie Watts has died aged 80

He was one of the longest serving members of the band.

Earlier this year, it was announced the drummer would miss an upcoming tour to the United States, as he was recovering from an unspecified medical procedure.

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Charlie Watts, centre, with The Rolling Stones in 1964. (Left to right: Bill Wyman, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards)
Image: Charlie Watts, centre, with The Rolling Stones in 1964. (Left to right: Bill Wyman, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards)

In 2004 Watts was treated for throat cancer, and was later given the all clear after six weeks of radiotherapy.

Having given up smoking in the 1980s, the drummer said he was lucky the doctors caught the cancer early.

Tributes were quick to appear on social media.

Elton John said: “A very sad day. Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer. The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company. My deepest condolences to Shirley, Seraphina and Charlotte. And of course, The Rolling Stones. “

Musician and songwriter Nile Rodgers tweeted: “Rest In Power #CharlieWatts RIP. You are a smooth brother. Thanks for all the great music.”

Beatles drummer Ringo Starr said: “#God bless Charlie Watts we’re going to miss you man peace and love to the family Ringo.”

Kiss co-founder Paul Stanley said: “AWFUL NEWS. One of the true timeless icons and the backbone of the Stones. Hard to fathom the loss. So very sad.”

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello said: “Rock n roll would not be rock n roll without the rhythm, the style, the VIBE of this incredible musician. Rest In Peace #CharlieWatts, one of the greatest and most important architects of the music we love.”

Watts, far left, with his bandmates in 2016
Image: Watts, far left, with his bandmates in 2016

Lol Tolhurst, the former drummer for the Cure, said: “All of my hi hat technique I owe to Charlie . Thank you and RIP Charlie Watts.”

American musician Sheryl Crow tweeted: “A hero is gone. No words. A huge gaping hole in the universe. RIP Charlie Watts.”

Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher tweeted: “RIP CHARLIE WATTS”

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