Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has died surrounded by his family, aged 80, few weeks after a successful emergency operation, in a London hospital. “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” a statement said. The Stones aimed to have him back fighting fit for the band’s big 60th anniversary celebrations in 2022, when they will release their first album of ¬original songs in 17 years. Sir Elton John tweeted: “A very sad day. Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer. The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company.” Musician Bryan Adams and TV presenter Piers Morgan both described Watts as “one of the greatest drummers in rock history”. Singer Sheryl Crow said “a hero is gone” leaving a “huge gaping hole in the universe” .
The drummer was known for his sophisticated and inventive playing on classic tracks. In 2016, Watts was ranked 12th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest drummers of all time. Session and touring musician Steve Jordan was previously announced as Watts’ temporary replacement on drums. Watts was stable in his personal life: he married his wife Shirley Ann Shepherd in 1964, and they remained together until his death. He is also survived by their daughter, Seraphina, and granddaughter Charlotte.