Watts’ publicist confirmed the news in a statement last night (August 24), writing that the “beloved” drummer had “passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family.”
- READ MORE: Charlie Watts, 1941 – 2021: the ballast that kept The Rolling Stones tempered and on-track
The message continued by describing the late musician as “a cherished husband, father and grandfather” and “one of the greatest drummers of his generation”.
Tributes have since poured in from the likes of Paul McCartney, Elton John, The Who, Liam Gallagher and Blondie. The Stones’ frontman Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards have also posted poignant images to social media to mark their respects.
This morning (August 25), the band’s Ronnie Wood shared an image of himself with Watts online alongside a tribute message.
“I love you my fellow Gemini ~ I will dearly miss you ~ you are the best,” Wood wrote before signing off with a trio of emojis, including the heart and sunshine symbols. You can see the post below.
I love you my fellow Gemini ~ I will dearly miss you ~ you are the best🙏❤️☀️ pic.twitter.com/aMYTGWikxB
— Ronnie Wood (@ronniewood) August 25, 2021
Watts had recently announced that he would be sitting out the Rolling Stones’ 2021 tour dates, with longtime Richards collaborator Steve Jordan filling in for him. The drummer’s absence from the tour was due to him undergoing a medical procedure, which was said to have been “completely successful”.
Charlie Watts’ cause of death is not known at this stage. He was previously treated for throat cancer in 2004.
Having joined the Stones in 1963, Watts featured on all of the band’s studio albums to date alongside Richards and Jagger. He previously worked as a graphic designer in an advertising agency.