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Charlie Watts, the legendary Rolling Stones drummer, has died at the age of 80. The musician "passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family," his publicist, Bernard Doherty said on Tuesday. "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," Doherty added.
Watts had revealed earlier this month he would not go on tour with the Rolling Stones in 2021 after undergoing a medical procedure.
The End Of An Icon
Charlie Watts was often described as one of the top musicians of his generation, helping to cement one of the greatest rhythm sections in the history of rock. As a member of one of the first British bands to conquer the United States in the 1960s, the Rolling Stones went on multi-million pound tours across the world.
But in a recent interview with The Guardian he just spoke of himself as someone who was following his passions. "I love playing the drums, and I love playing with Mick and Keith and Ronnie," Watts told The Guardian once. "I don't know about the rest of it. It wouldn't bother me if the Rolling Stones said: 'That's it ... enough.'"
Without Charlie Watts as a calming influence among rock 'n' roll's long-serving band, the Rolling Stones would probably have not lasted as long as it has.
Watts' diplomatic tact often served to bring the hot-tempered, quarrelsome Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to their senses. It was due to his calming influence that the Rolling Stones were still together when he passed away and were even ready to hit the road again once the pandemic subsided.
As Richards once said: "There couldn't be a Rolling Stones without Charlie Watts."
The Music World Pays Tribute
Musicians from all over the world have been quick to praise Watts' musical genius which inspired a generation. Fellow British star Elton John said Watts was "the ultimate drummer" in a Facebook post. He called him "the most stylish of men, and such brilliant company," while offering his condolences to his family and the members of his band.
Another great British musician, Paul McCartney called Watts "a lovely guy." "A fantastic drummer, steady as a rock. Love you, Charlie, will always love you," Paul McCartney said in a video he posted on Twitter. "RIP Charlie Watts, one of the greatest rock drummers ever and a real gentleman," tweeted Canadian rocker Bryan Adams.
How Did Charlie Watts Die?
Watts was sidelined from The Rolling Stones earlier this month after his doctors found a unspecified problem they wanted to rectify, according to press reports. At the time, he said that "for once my timing has been a little off" and he would not be going on tour as originally planned. "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," Watts added.
Watts had received treatment for alcohol and heroin abuse, but said he had been able to leave those addiction problems behind. He also underwent treatment for throat cancer in 2004. "We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time," his spokesman Doherty said while announcing the musician's death.
jc/dj (AP, Reuters)