Charlie Watts dead – Legendary Rolling Stones drummer dies age 80 just weeks after pulling out of US tour

LEGENDARY Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has passed away age 80, it was confirmed today.

Watts, who has been with the band since the early 1960s heyday, pulled out of their US tour just weeks ago following an unspecified medical procedure.

It was initially reported that he was taking time to recover with the band saying they hoped to reunite with him again soon.

However his publicist confirmed today that Charlie had passed away "peacefully" surrounded by his loved ones.

Read our Charlie Watts blog below for the latest updates on his death

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    "SHY" WATTS WAS NEVER THE MOST LIKELY ROCK STAR

    Although Rolling Stones like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are known for their flamboyant lifestyles the man behind the drum kit always seemed a lot more calm and collected.

    “He’s modest and shy and the idea of stardom horrifies him. He’s a very secretive man,” his band Richards once said of him.

    Speaking of his friend, he said: “Charlie’s always there, but he doesn’t want to let everybody know.

    “People think Mick and Keith are the Rolling Stones. But if Charlie wasn’t doing what he’s doing on drums, that wouldn’t be true at all. You’d find out that Charlie Watts is the Rolling Stones.”

  • John Hall

    PREVIOUS RECOVERY

    Following his recovery from throat cancer, the Rolling Stones began work on A Bigger Bang – their 22nd studio album.

    Watts, who is believed to have given up smoking in the 1980s, told Rolling Stone magazine at the time he felt "very lucky" to catch the cancer early.

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    'NOT JUST THE DRUMMER'

    Friends and colleagues say Charlie Watts was mostly a mild mannered guy – but not to be messed with.

    According to Keith Richards' autobiography, frontman Mick Jagger provoked his ire during a tour stop in Amsterdam in 1984 by asking where "his drummer" was.

    Watts calmly got up, put on a suit and punched Jagger in the face – informing him he was not "his drummer" and Jagger was instead "his singer", The Times reports.

     

  • John Hall

    PAST HEALTH

    In 2004, Watts was treated for throat cancer but given the all-clear following a four-month battle, including radiotherapy sessions.

    He had been diagnosed after discovering a lump on the left side of his neck.

    Doctors performed a biopsy which led to his throat cancer diagnosis.

    Watts' spokesman said at the time that the treatment had "not interfered with any tour or recording plans for the group, who have been 'relaxing between work commitments"'.

  • John Hall

    PERMANENT FIXTURE

    Charlie Watts was a permanent fixture in the Rolling Stones' much changed lineup.

    Only he Sir Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have remained in the band since their earliest days.

    Original guitar player Brian Jones died in the late 1960s and his replacement on guitar, Mick Taylor, was only with the band for a few years before current member Ronnie Wood joined in the mid 1970s.

    Original bass player Bill Wyman quit the band in the early 1980s and has never been formally replaced on bass.

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    THE "QUIET, ELEGANTLY DRESSED" DRUMMER WHO CHANGED ROCK AND ROLL HISTORY

    The quiet, elegantly dressed Watts was often ranked with Keith Moon, Ginger Baker and a handful of others as a premier rock drummer, respected worldwide for his muscular, swinging style as the band rose from its scruffy beginnings to international superstardom.

    He has been a part of the group for nearly 60 years, ranked just behind Mick Jagger and Keith Richards as the group's longest lasting and most essential member.

    The Stones began, Watts said, "as white blokes from England playing Black American music" but quickly evolved their own distinctive sound. Watts was a jazz drummer in his early years and never lost his affinity for the music he first loved, heading his own jazz band and taking on numerous other side projects.

    A classic Stones song like "Brown Sugar" and "Start Me Up" often began with a hard guitar riff from Richards, with Watts following closely behind.

    Watts' speed, power and time keeping were never better showcased than during the concert documentary, "Shine a Light," when director Martin Scorsese filmed "Jumpin' Jack Flash" from where he drummed toward the back of the stage.

  • John Hall

    SHOW GO ON?

    The band are due to resume their tour in the United States in September, following its postponement last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Session and touring musician Steve Jordan was previously announced as Watts' temporary replacement on drums.

    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."

    A spokesman said at the time that Watts' procedure had been "completely successful", but added that he needed time to recuperate.

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    HOW DID CHARLIE WATTS BECOME FAMOUS?

    Charlie Watts first met four of the original members of the Rolling Stones – Brian Jones, IanStewart, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards – in 1962 but didn't officially join until January 1963.

    Despite the late start he was one of the group's longest serving members.

    He outlasted Ian Stewart, who was removed from the main lineup later that year, and Brian Jones who died in 1969.

  • John Hall

    LONG SERVANT

    Charlie Watts joined the Rolling Stones way back in 1963.

    He celebrated his 80th birthday just two months ago in June.

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    PIERS MORGAN PAYS TRIBUTE TO DRUMMING 'LEGEND'

    The former GMB star paid tribute to Charlie Watts on Twitter, calling him "one of the greatest drummers in rock history"

  • John Hall

    HEART ISSUE

    The music legend passed away just weeks after pulling out of the band's US tour following an emergency heart operation.

    At the time the band said they hoped 80-year-old Charlie would join them on the road again soon.

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    AGENT PAYS TRIBUTE TO "GREATEST DRUMMER"

    Watts' agent Bernard Doherty said the 80-year0ld 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," Doherty said.

    Watts had announced he would not tour with the Stones in 2021 because of an undefined health issue.

  • John Hall

    WHAT DID CHARLIE SAY ON HIS HEALTH?

    Doctors deemed him unfit to join the rescheduled 13-date No Filter tour which starts next month, and prescribed him weeks of "rest and recuperation", The Sun revealed.

    Watts joked at the time: "For once, my timing has been a little off."

  • John Hall

    DEATH OF A LEGEND

    The Stones aimed to have him back fighting fit for the band’s big 60th anniversary celebrations in 2022, when they will release their first album of ­original songs in 17 years.

    But sadly Charlie died before he could rejoin his bandmates, his London publicist Bernard Doherty confirmed today.

  • John Hall

    SHOCK DEATH

    Charlie, regarded as one of rock’s greatest drummers, had the “successful procedure” in London after a problem was found during a routine check-up.

    Doctors deemed him unfit to join the rescheduled 13-date No Filter tour which starts next month, and prescribed him weeks of “rest and recuperation”.

    Charlie joked at the time: “For once, my timing has been a little off.”

    He added: “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 disappointment with delays to the tour caused by Covid, I really don’t want the many Stones fans in the States who have been holding tickets to have another postponement or cancellation.”

  • John Hall

    SURROUNDED BY FAMILY

    Watts' said in a statement: "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."

  • John Hall

    DEATH OF A LEGEND

    The Stones aimed to have him back fighting fit for the band’s big 60th anniversary celebrations in 2022, when they will release their first album of ­original songs in 17 years.

    But sadly Charlie died before he could rejoin his bandmates, his London publicist Bernard Doherty confirmed today.

  • John Hall

    SHOCK DEATH

    Charlie, regarded as one of rock’s greatest drummers, had the "successful procedure" in London after a problem was found during a routine check-up.

    Doctors deemed him unfit to join the rescheduled 13-date No Filter tour which starts next month, and prescribed him weeks of "rest and recuperation".

    Charlie joked at the time: "For once, my timing has been a little off."

    He added: "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 disappointment with delays to the tour caused by Covid, I really don’t want the many Stones fans in the States who have been holding tickets to have another postponement or cancellation."

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