Iconic rock legend Charles (Charlie) Watts spent over half a century with the Rolling Stones. The 80-year-old drummer was surrounded by family when he passed away peacefully in a London hospital on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. His publicist asked that everyone respect the privacy of his family, band members, and close friends during this difficult time.
His death comes after news broke earlier this month that Watts would not be joining the Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour of U.S. stadiums set to begin in September. Vogue reported this is because he needed to recuperate after an undisclosed but successful medical procedure. On August 4, a Stones spokesperson explained: “I gather his doctors…concluded that he now needs proper rest and recuperation.”
Watts, who has been with the Rolling Stones since admitted his timing was 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.”
Not wanting to disappoint ticketholders, he added, “I have asked my friend Steve Jordan to stand in for me.” His stand-in has worked on several Keith Richards recordings and has experience as a house band member for several late-night TV shows.
The stage will not be the same without him and his impeccable timing, according to Joe Gross for Rolling Stone Magazine. He recalled something Richards said in 1979:
‘Everybody thinks Mick and Keith are the Rolling Stones. If Charlie wasn’t doing what he’s doing on drums, that wouldn’t be true at all. You’d find out that Charlie Watts is the Stones.’
He had been with the band since January 1963 when he joined Brian Jones, Richards, and Mick Jagger. Throughout the past 58 years, he became one of the most prominent instrumentalists in rock and roll.
That is a significant achievement for a young man who never had any formal drum-playing instruction. He taught himself to play by listening to his favorite jazz musicians.
No cause of death was released. Even though plans were made for Steve Jordan to replace Watts in the upcoming tour, the band has not released a statement concerning any further changes.
Watts leaves behind Shirley Ann, his wife of 57 years, their daughter Seraphina, and granddaughter, Charlotte.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Deadline: Charlie Watts Dies: Rolling Stones Drummer Was 80; by Greg Evans
Rolling Stone: Charlie Watts Dies: Rolling Stones Drummer Was 80; by Joe Gross
FOX News: Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts dead at 80; by Tyler McCarthy
Variety: Rolling Stones Drummer Charlie Watts Is ‘Unlikely’ to Join Group’s 2021 U.S. Tour; by Jem Aswad
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