The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has died at age 80.
Watts’ publicist confirmed the sad news in a statement to ET Canada, writing: “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.”
The message described Watts as “a cherished husband, father and grandfather” and “one of the greatest drummers of his generation.”
It added: “We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time.”
— The Rolling Stones (@RollingStones) August 24, 2021
Watts’ fellow Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards shared tributes to their longtime bandmate on social media, with Jagger sharing a photo of Watts beaming with joy behind his drum kit, while Richards posted a pic of Watts’ drums with a “closed” sign hanging on them.
BBC first reported the news of Watts’ death, which comes after he dropped out of the Stones’ U.S. tour earlier this month after having an operation.
“Charlie has had a procedure which was completely successful, but I gather his doctors this week concluded that he now needs proper rest and recuperation. 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,” the Stones said in a statement.
In his own statement, Watts said at the time, “For once my timing has been a little off. I am working hard to get fully fit but I have today accepted on the advice of the experts that this will take a while. After all the fans’ suffering caused by COVID I really do not want the many RS 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.”
Watts has been with the band, who are due to kick off their U.S. tour in St. Louis on Sept. 26, since its inception in 1962.
Tributes have been pouring in for the beloved musician, with Sheryl Crow posting:
A hero is gone. No words. A huge gaping hole in the universe.
RIP Charlie Watts. https://t.co/kLSaIF9JKn
— Sheryl Crow (@SherylCrow) August 24, 2021
See more tributes below.
— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) August 24, 2021
The heartbeat of Rock & Roll. The Great Charlie Watts. 😔 all due respect. https://t.co/k7tBR7KKFb
— B.R.O.theR. ?uestion (@questlove) August 24, 2021
— Dave Davies (@davedavieskinks) August 24, 2021
— Dave Davies (@davedavieskinks) August 24, 2021
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) August 24, 2021
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.
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) August 24, 2021
Oh no! This is terribly shocking. Not just one of greatest drummers in one of the greatest bands of all time, but a gentleman’s gentleman. He singlehandedly brought the Rock world some real class. Rock and Roll will miss him profoundly. We are significantly less without him. https://t.co/CKTmnBuWwV
— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) August 24, 2021
A monumentally sad day learning my personal hero Charlie Watts has died. I’m devastated and my soul aches for Shirley, Serafina, the extended Watts family, and of course his band mates. I don’t know what to say really. Charlie Watts Rest In Peace my friend…
— Max Weinberg (@EStreetMax) August 24, 2021
Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts dies aged 80 https://t.co/LUVShR1yaM via @YahooNews AWFUL NEWS. One of the true timeless icons and the backbone of the Stones. Hard to fathom the loss. So very sad.
— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) August 24, 2021
— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) August 24, 2021
My mom always claimed I was conceived during the chorus of “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones.
Thank you, Charlie Watts. I owe you my life.
Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/4YRM4dXoN9
— Curtis Stigers (@curtisstigers) August 24, 2021
Paul on Charlie Watts ❤️ pic.twitter.com/rn2elK6cFE
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) August 24, 2021
RIP CHARLIE WATTS
— Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) August 24, 2021
I’m just shocked to hear about Charlie Watts. I don’t know what to say, I feel terrible for Charlie’s family. Charlie was a great drummer and I loved the Stones music, they made great records. Love & Mercy. pic.twitter.com/C4q2zXvVKo
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) August 24, 2021
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. pic.twitter.com/xEfzaSLCba
— Tom Morello (@tmorello) August 24, 2021
Charlie Watts was the most elegant and dignified drummer in rock and roll. He played exactly what was needed – no more – no less. He is one of a kind. pic.twitter.com/aasPZ2fMYX
— Joan Jett (@joanjett) August 24, 2021
Charlie Watts – The
Rolling Stones drummer — who helped them become one of the greatest bands in history has died at the age of 80.
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) August 24, 2021