Rolling Stones’ legendary drummer Charlie Watts dies, aged 80

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

The unassuming son of a truck driver had been a member of the Stones since January 1963, when he joined Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones in their fledgling group.

“It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts,” a statement said.

“He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family.”

It comes just 19 days after it emerged the debonair rock icon was likely to miss the band’s upcoming US tour to allow him to recover from an unspecified medical procedure.

A spokesperson for the Stones said that the procedure was “completely successful” but that the 80-year-old drummer needed time to recuperate.

The Stones were set to resume their No Filter tour with a stadium show in St Louis on September 26.

The publicist said he was “a cherished husband, father and grandfather” and “one of the greatest drummers of his generation”.

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

Beatles drummer Ringo Starr was among the first from the world of rock and pop to pay tribute saying: “God bless Charlie Watts we’re going to miss you man. Peace and love to the family, Ringo.”

Paul McCartney paid tribute in a specially made video, saying: “So sad to hear about Charlie Watts, the Stones drummer, dying.

“He was  a lovely guy,  I knew he was ill, but I didn’t know he was this ill.  So, lots of love to his family, his wife and kids and his extended family.   Condolences to the Stones. It’s a huge blow to them because Charlie was a rock, and a fantastic drummer.  Steady as a rock.

“Anyway, love you, Charlie, always loved you, beautiful man, and great condolences and sympathies to his family.”

Singer songwriter Sheryl Crow added: “A hero is gone. No words. A huge gaping hole in the universe.”

Watts said said in a statement after his medical procedure that he did not want his recovery to further delay the tour, which is set to visit several US cities including Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

He was to be replaced by understudy Steve Jordan, who has played with Keith Richards for years.

“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.

“After all the fans’ suffering caused by Covid I really do not want the many [Stones] 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.”


Source: Rolling Stones

Watts successfully underwent treatment for throat cancer in 2004. 

Tributes for the legendary drummer were swift and from across the musical spectrum.

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.”

Curtis Stigers said: “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.”

Born in London in 1941, Watts started playing drums in London’s rhythm and blues clubs in the early 1960s, before agreeing to joining th eStones

Finding initial success in Britain and the United States with covers, the group achieved global fame with Jagger-Richards penned hits including (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Get Off of My Cloud and Paint It, Black.

Watts left the hell raising that defined the band in the sixties and seventies to the other members.

On stage he had a reputation for leaving the flamboyance to Jagger and the others while he anchored the performance with a sense of calm capability.



The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992