Charlie Watts, Rolling Stones Drummer, Dies at 80

Charlie Watts, the longtime drummer for The Rolling Stones, died on Tuesday, the band announced. He was 80 years old. The statement from The Rolling Stones said that Watts “passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family.”

“Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather and also a member of The Rolling Stones one of the greatest drummers of his generation,” the statement said. “We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time.”

Watts joined The Rolling Stones in 1963 and became one of the top drummers of all time. In 2006, Watts was elected into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame and the International Best Dressed Hall of Fame by Vanity Fair the same year. In 2016, Watts was ranked 12th on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time list. Earlier this month, it was reported that Watts would likely miss the band’s upcoming U.S. tour to allow him to recover from a medical procedure. The Rolling Stones were set to resume their No Filter tour with a stadium show in St. Louis on Sept. 26.

“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,” Watts said in a statement. In 2004, Watts underwent treatment for throat cancer and was replaced by his understudy Steve Jordan.

In a 2018 interview with NME, Watts was asked if he would ever retire. “No. I’ve thought that the band might stop a lot of times” Watts revealed. “I used to think that at the end of every tour. I’d had enough of it – that was it. But no, not really. I hope [when it ends] that everyone says, ‘that’ll be it’. I’d hate for it to be a bloody big argument. That would be a real sad moment. But to say this is the last show wouldn’t be a particularly sad moment, not to me anyway. I’ll just carry on as I was yesterday or today.” Watts married Shirley Ann Shepherd in 1964. The couple had one daughter, Seraphina, who was born in March 1968.

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