“Dear Charlie. Godspeed.”
-Alex Van Halen
We received the above message from Alex Van Halen’s camp today.
Charlie Watts, whose strong but unflashy drumming powered the Rolling Stones for over 50 years, died on Tuesday in London. He was 80.
His death, in a hospital, was announced by his publicist, Bernard Doherty. No other details were immediately provided.
The Rolling Stones announced earlier this month that Mr. Watts would not be a part of the band’s forthcoming “No Filter” tour of the United States after he had undergone an unspecified emergency medical procedure, which the band’s representatives said had been successful.
Reserved, dignified and dapper, Mr. Watts was never as flamboyant, either onstage or off, as most of his rock-star peers, let alone the Stones’ lead singer, Mick Jagger; he was content to be one of the finest rock drummers of his generation, playing with a jazz-inflected swing that made the band’s titanic success possible. As the Stones guitarist Keith Richards said in his 2010 autobiography, “Life,” “Charlie Watts has always been the bed that I lie on musically.”