Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has died aged 80.
The legendary musician – who was one of the original members of the ‘Paint it Black’ hitmakers – passed away at the age of 80, his publicist Bernard Doherty has confirmed.
In a statement, Bernard said: "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.
"Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather and also as 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."
As of the time of writing, a cause of death has not been confirmed, but his passing comes just weeks after he had a “successful” emergency heart operation after a problem was found during a routine check-up.
Doctors had deemed him unfit to join the rescheduled ‘No Filter’ tour which was due to start next month, and had prescribed him weeks of "rest and recuperation".
The drummer was expected to be back with the band for their 60th anniversary celebrations next year, when they will release their first album of original songs in 17 years.
Tributes flowed after the sad news with dozens of celebrities have taking to social media to share their fond memories of the music legend.
And among those to honour Charlie’s life first were singing icon Elton John, and fellow drumming superstar Ringo Starr.
Elton took to Twitter and wrote: “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. (sic)”
While Beatles legend Ringo penned: “#God bless Charlie Watts we’re going to miss you man peace and love to the family Ringo (sic)”
Ringo’s bandmate Sir Paul McCartney also posted a message on Twitter in the form of a 50-second video in which he praised Charlie as a “lovely guy” and a “fantastic drummer”.
He said: “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. Lots of love to his family, his wife and kids, and his extended family.
“Condolences to the Stones, this is a huge blow to them because Charlie was a rock and a fantastic drummer.
“Love you Charlie, I always loved you. Beautiful man, and great condolences and sympathies to his family.”
As of the time of writing, Charlie’s bandmates – including Sir Mick Jagger and Keith Richards – have not commented on his passing.
Charlie was widely regarded as one of the best drummers in the world, and he is the only member of the Rolling Stones other than Sir Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to have featured on all of the band’s studio albums.
He joined the ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ rockers in 1963 and was part of the band’s first stable line-up, which also included Mick, Keith, Bill Wyman, and Brian Jones.
The iconic musician cited jazz as a major influence in his drumming style, and he was elected into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2006, the same year he was also inducted into Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.
He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 as a member of the Rolling Stones.
- Bang! Showbiz