Aug. 25, 2021 — It’s a sad time for Stones fans. Charlie Watts, drummer for the iconic Rolling Stones, passed away Tuesday at a hospital in London. The cause of death is unknown.
He was 80 years old.
”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,” his spokesperson said in a statement. “We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time.”
His passing comes before the legendary rock group is set to kick off its “No Filter” tour on Sept. 26 in St. Louis. Watts’s spokesperson put out a statement earlier this month saying that he would not be joining the tour after having an unspecified medical procedure.
Watts is survived by bandmates Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood.
The drummer, known for being more reserved than flashy bandmates like Jagger, is often referred to as the “backbone” of the Rolling Stones and one of the greatest drummers of all time.
Celebrities, including other rock ’n’ roll icons, are expressing their sympathies on social media.
“So sorry to hear the very sad news of Charlie Watts passing. He was such a nice guy and a major influence in the music business — he’ll be sadly missed,” Tony Iommi, lead guitarist for Black Sabbath, tweeted.
“A very sad day. Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer,” Elton John tweeted. “The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company.”
Watts was born on June 2, 1941, in London. His musical abilities were evident at an early age, and his first love was jazz music, CNN reported.
He joined the Rolling Stones in 1963, and the group went onto release smash hits like “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Sympathy For The Devil,” and “Paint it Black.”
Watts lived with his wife, Shirley Ann Shepherd, in London. The couple married in 1964. They had one daughter, Seraphina.
Watts, a smoker until the 1980s, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2004. He is said to have fully recovered.
Even with the massive success of the Rolling Stones, Watts’s passion for jazz never died.
In between performances with the Rolling Stones, he formed the Charlie Watts Orchestra, a 32-piece band, in the 1980s and put out multiple albums with the Charlie Watts Quintet in the 1990s.
The Rolling Stones is considered one of the greatest rock ’n’ roll bands of all time, and Watts was lead drummer for more than 50 years.