For some, The Beatles dominate rock history. For the rest of us, it’s the Rolling Stones. But today, the world has lost a Rolling Stone and irreplaceable rock icon. Charlie Watts, drummer for the Rolling Stones, has died. he was 80-years-old.
The news comes from Watts’ rep., who confirms his death to Variety Tuesday, August 24, 2021.
Charlie Watts’ passing follows his withdrawal from the Rolling Stones’ 2021 tour in August. At the time, Watts would cite the need to recover from a recent medical procedure.
Cause of death is unknown. Watts was a survivor of throat cancer, which was successfully treated in 2004.
In life, Charlie Watts would become one of the greatest drummers of all time. He will forever remain so as part of the Rolling Stones – an indominable force of music.
For over 50 years, Charlie Watts would rock the world as part of the Stones. He took up with the band in 1963 alongside Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. His jazz training lent a uniqueness to their sound that his bandmates adored, with Jagger calling Watts a “blessing” on multiple occasions.
“To have a drummer from the beginning who could play with the sensibility of Charlie Watts is one of the best hidden assets I’ve had, because I never had to think about the drummer and what he’s going to do,” Jagger said as part of the 2003 oral history According to the Rolling Stones.
“I just say, ‘Charlie, it goes like this,’ and we’ll kick it around a bit and it’s done. I can throw him ideas and I never have to worry about the beat…It’s a blessing.”
The Legendary Life of Charlie Watts
Charlie Watts was born on June 2, 1941 in London to a truck driver father and caregiving mother. The Stones drummer would spend his formidable years in Wembley, where his love of jazz would blossom.
By age 15, Charlie would begin his musical journey himself, Variety cites. Later in life, the Rolling Stones would come knocking, and the rest is history.
While Watts would become weary of his band’s touring pace and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, he wouldn’t abandon them. Charlie Watts was and is inseparable from the Stones. Through battles with heroin addiction to throat cancer, nothing would deter him.
In fact, Charlie Watts would enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Rolling Stones in 1989 after countless sold out tours, #1 singles, and record-smashing albums.
And through it all, he would remain the kind-hearted soul of the Stones. As Mick Jagger and Keith Richards would thrive in the lives of Rock Gods, Watts chose domestic bliss with his wife, Shirley. The two married in 1964, and remained together until his death.
Charlie Watts leaves behind Shirley, and their daughter, Serafina. He was 80-years-old.