Charlie Watts tributes pour in from Rolling Stones fans as Piers Morgan calls drummer 'heartbeat' of iconic band

LEGENDARY Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has passed away age 80, it was confirmed today.

A host of famous faces have paid their tributes to the music legend, who passed away just weeks after pulling out of the band's US tour following an emergency heart operation.

Singer and guitarist Nile Rodgers shared a touching tribute, writing: "Rest In Power #CharlieWatts RIP. You are a smooth brother. Thanks for all the great music."

Piers Morgan took to Twitter writing: "BREAKING NEWS: Rolling Stones superstar Charlie Watts, one of the greatest drummers in rock history, has died aged 80.

"A brilliant musician and a wonderful character, he was the cool, calm, ever-pounding heartbeat of the Stones. Very sad news."

Musician Ringo Starr posted: "#God bless Charlie Watts we’re going to miss you man peace and love to the family Ringo."

Legend Elton John shared: "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. @therollingstones #CharlieWatts #RIP."

KISS star Paul Stanley tweeted: "Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts dies aged 80. AWFUL NEWS.

"One of the true timeless icons and the backbone of the Stones. Hard to fathom the loss. So very sad."

Singer Bryan Adams penned: "RIP Charlie Watts, one of the greatest rock drummers ever and a real gentleman.

"Condolences to his family and the band."

🔵 Read our Charlie Watts blog for the latest updates on his death

His publicist said in a statement: "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."

Watts, regarded as one of rock’s greatest drummers, had a "successful procedure" in London a few weeks ago after a problem was found during a routine check-up.

Doctors deemed him unfit to join the rescheduled 13-date No Filter tour which starts next month, and prescribed him weeks of "rest and recuperation", The Sun revealed.

Watts joked at the time: "For once, my timing has been a little off."

He added: "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.

"After all the disappointment with delays to the tour caused by Covid, I really don’t want the many Stones fans in the States who have been holding tickets to have another postponement or cancellation."

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.

But sadly Watts died before he could rejoin his bandmates, his London publicist Bernard Doherty confirmed today.

Alongside frontman Sir Mick Jagger, 78, and guitarist Keith Richards, 77, Watts was among the longest-standing members of the Stones, which has seen a shifting line-up of musicians including Mick Taylor, 72, Ronnie Wood, 74, and Bill Wyman, 84.

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