The legendary percussionist sat behind The Stones’ kit for over half a century

Charlie Watts Rolling Stones
Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones [Victoria Wills, Invision/AP]

Charlie Watts, legendary drummer of The Rolling Stones, has died. Watts passed away “peacefully” at a hospital in London. He was 80.

“It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts,” an official statement said from Watt’s spokesperson. “He passed away peacefully at 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.

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

Watts’ camp recently confirmed that he would miss the band’s upcoming No Filter Tour. After undergoing a procedure for an undisclosed medical issue, Watts said in a statement that he was unlikely to be joining the band for their rescheduled U.S. shows. The Stones’ longtime collaborator Steve Jordan is set to fill in for Watts so the tour can continue as planned.

“Charlie has had a procedure which was completed successfully, but I gather his doctors this week concluded that he now needs proper rest and recuperation,” a spokesman for Watts said in a statement. “With rehearsals starting in the next couple of weeks it’s very disappointing to say the least, but it’s also fair to say that no one saw this coming.”

Watts himself added, “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 cause by COVID I really do not want the many 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.”

Charlie Watts was the drummer for The Rolling Stones for over half a century.