The longstanding member of Britain's legendary rock band was 80 years old.
Sad news in the rock world: Charlie Watts, the drummer of The Rolling Stones, has died. According to TMZ, the musician passed away on Tuesday, August 24, at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London where he had been recovering from a yet-to-be-confirmed medical procedure. As a result, the drummer was forced to exit the band's upcoming U.S. tour, a first for the percussionist of almost 60 years. He previously was treated for throat cancer in 2004, which went into remission.
The oldest member of the group, Watts was 80 years.
"It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts," a rep for the band told TMZ. "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."
Born in London on June 2, 1941, Watts discovered music at an early age and became passionate about jazz, particularly the recordings of Charlie Parker. He went to school for graphic art design and took up drumming in the city's music clubs in the 1960s. There he met Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Brian Jones, who would form The Rolling Stones. He joined the band in 1963, where he would appear on the band's subsequent studio recordings and never miss a tour.
In addition to drumming on hits like "Start Me Up" and "Brown Sugar," he also designed record sleeve art and tour stages. On the side, he played with his own band the Charlie Watts Quintet, inspired by his first love of jazz music.
In their half-century-long career, the blue-rock act has released over 30 official albums and sold over 200 million records worldwide. Watts received a variety of musical honors, including induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2006. But he was also well known for his fashion sense, with Vanity Fair recognizing his sharp style with 2006's International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame award.
Often referred to as the "soul of the band" by the others members, Watts' passing is a blow to the rock world.
He is survived by his wife, Shirley, daughter Seraphina, and multiple grandchildren. TMZ also reported his wife was by his side when he passed. His rep also added, "We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members, and close friends is respected at this difficult time."
*Featured image: Flickr: The ABC & D of Boogie Woogie (Herisau, 13. Januar 2010)