On Tuesday, August 24, 2021, the world lost a Stone. Someone who, as Paul McCartney remembers, was “as solid as a rock.”
The tragic news came via the Rolling Stones and Charlie Watts’ representative, with a cause of death unknown. We do know, however, that the drummer “died peacefully in a London hospital,” per his rep.
In the wake of his passing, some of the world’s most legendary names are paying tribute. But to Charlie Watts, they were friends, colleagues and loved ones.
From Beatle To Stone: Paul McCartney And Ringo Starr Tribute Charlie Watts
“Charlie Watts… Was a lovely guy,” Beatle Paul McCartney begins of the Rolling Stone. “Charlie was a rock. A fantastic drummer. Steady as a rock.”
McCartney says he knew Charlie Watts was ill, “but not this ill,” with tears in his eyes. 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. Watts was a survivor of throat cancer, which was successfully treated in 2004, but his cause of death is unknown.
Fellow Beatle to Paul – and fellow drummer to Charlie – Ringo Starr, took to Twitter to honor him, as well.
“God bless Charlie Watts we’re going to miss you man peace and love to the family,” Ringo writes.
Elton John: ‘Charlie Watts Was The Ultimate Drummer’
Twitter continues to light up with tributes to the legendary Stone. Elton John writes:
“A very sad day. Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer. The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company. My deepest condolences to Shirley, Seraphina and Charlotte. And of course, The Rolling Stones.”
The two were fast friends for decades, with their domination of the rock and pop industries in common.
From Fellow Drummer Questlove To Joan Jett: Icons Remember An Icon
The Roots drummer Questlove is also honoring Watts on Instagram.
“The heartbeat of Rock & Roll. The Great Charlie Watts,” he writes. “All due respect.”
Sheryl Crow echoes with: “A hero is gone. No words. A huge gaping hole in the universe. RIP Charlie.”
Fellow rock icon Joan Jett holds beautiful words for the Stone, as well.
“Charlie Watts was the most elegant and dignified drummer in rock and roll,” Jett writes on Twitter. “He played exactly what was needed — no more — no less. He is one of a kind.”
In tribute, Variety cites their review of a Rolling Stones show in 2019. Within, the trade’s Chris Willman pens the perfect description of the irreplaceable Charlie Watts.
“Sitting at a minimalist kit and moving even more minimally with his casual jazz grip, [Watts looks] like the mild-mannered banker who no one in the heist movie realizes is the guy actually blowing up the vault.”
The Rolling Stone was 80-years-old.