The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has died at the age of 80, his London publicist Bernard Doherty has said.

Charlie Watts death anouncement

The statement said: “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.”

Originally trained as a graphic artist, Charlie Watts started playing drums for The Rolling Stones alongside Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards and Bill Wyman.

The band were formed in London in 1962 diverging from the pop rock of the early 60s.

Watts has been the only Rolling Stones member other than Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to have featured on all of the band’s studio albums.

Rolling Stones US tour

Earlier this month, it was announced that Watts was to miss the band’s forthcoming US tour.

A spokesman for him said at the time he was “unlikely to be available for the resumption of the Rolling Stones USA No Filter Tour this fall” as he recovered from an unspecified medical procedure.

The band are due to resume the tour Stateside in September, following its postponement last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Session and touring musician Steve Jordan was previously announced as Watts’ temporary replacement on drums.

Watts said at the time that “For once my timing has been a little off. 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.”

A spokesperson said then that Watts’ procedure had been “completely successful” but that he needed time to recuperate.