Charlie Watts, the long-time drummer for legendary rock band The Rolling Stones, has died at age 80, his publicist said in a statement Tuesday.
Watts, who played with The Rolling Stones for more than 50 years, “passed away peacefully in a London hospital surrounded by his family,” according to publicist Bernard Doherty.
Though Doherty did not specify his cause of death, the rock icon underwent a medical procedure for an unknown condition in June and was set to miss the band’s upcoming “No Filter” tour through North America.
When announcing his replacement with drummer Steve Jordan earlier this month, a spokesperson for Watts said his procedure was “completely successful,” but that he needed “rest and recuperation.”
Watts had been diagnosed with throat cancer in 2004, but recovered after two surgeries.
His death was met with heartfelt tributes from other music legends, including his counterpart in The Beatles, Ringo Starr, and Sir Elton John.
“Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather and also as a member of the of the Rolling Stones one of the greatest drummers of his generation,” Doherty said.
Watts had been a member of The Rolling Stones since 1963, when he met fellow bandmates Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and Keith Richards at a rhythm and blues club in London. Heavily influenced by jazz, Watts was central to the band’s sound and is widely considered one of the greatest drummers of all time. He later toured with his own group, the Charlie Watts Quintent. His last concert with The Rolling Stones was two years ago in Miami, though he also appeared in a livestream with the rest of the band early on in the coronavirus pandemic.
Alongside Jagger and Richards, Watts was the only member of the band to appear on every studio album.