Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has died at age 80. Watts’ publicist confirmed the new in a statement, saying: “It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts. He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family.”  Watts was described as “a cherished husband, father and grandfather” and “one of the greatest drummers of his generation.  In closing, the statement read: “We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time.”  The band also posted on social media with a statement about Charlie’s passing.

The news of Watts’ death comes shortly after he dropped out of the Stones’ U.S. tour earlier this month due to a recent unspecified medical procedure. Watts said at the time, “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 caused by COVID I really do not want the many RS 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.” Watts previously underwent treatment for throat cancer in 2004.

Watts joined the Rolling Stones early in 1963 and remained with the band over the next 60 years, ranked just behind Mick Jagger and Keith Richards as the group’s longest member.

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