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Passing of rock icon

Rolling Stones drummer Watts dies, aged 80

Charlie Watts, seen watching the Scotland v England cricket match in Edinburgh in June 2018 (pic: Terry Murden)

The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has died just days after pulling out of the legendary band’s latest tour. He was 80.

Watts, who joined the the group in January 1963, featured alongside fellow founder members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on every one of the band’s studio albums.

His agent Bernard Doherty, said in a statement this evening: “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.”

Watts was due to tour the US with the band later this year. But it was announced earlier this month he would not feature due to a recent emergency surgery for an undisclosed condition.

In 2004, he was treated for throat cancer at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital and he was given the all-clear after a four-month battle with the disease.

Known for his deadpan wit, tailored suits and preference for jazz music, Watts was born in Wembley, north London in June 1941.

As a teenager he played drums in Alexis Korner’s band Blues Incorporated which led to a meeting with guest vocalist Mick Jagger.

After much cajoling he was persuaded to join his future band mates who would remain together for nearly six decades. He was said to have a personal fortune of $250m, which includes an Arabian horse stud farm that he ran with his wife in rural England.

He also developed a passion for cricket and regularly attended Lord’s Cricket Ground. He was in Edinburgh three years ago for Scotland’s match with England.

The band’s latest tour is due to open on 26 September. Session musician Steve Jordan had already been announced as Watts’ temporary replacement, prompting Watts to say: “For once my timing has been a little off.”

He added: “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.”

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