Charlie Watts – star drummer for iconic rock band The Rolling Stones – has died.
He was 80 years old.
The music legend passed away mere weeks after undergoing an emergency heart operation in London, England; however, his exact cause of death is not yet known.
His publicist, Bernard Doherty, confirmed the news in a statement on Tuesday, saying that the rock icon "passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family."
A spokesperson for the band echoed Doherty's sentiments, saying, "It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts. ... 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 respects at this difficult time," the band's rep added.
It was during a recent routine checkup that doctors discovered an undisclosed problem with Watts' heart that they felt required some type of immediate surgery. He underwent the "successful procedure" in London.
However, his doctors determined that the musician was unfit to join his bandmates for their rescheduled 13-date No Filter tour across the United States, which is set to begin next month.
They prescribed him weeks of "rest and recuperation."
"For once, my timing has been a little off," Watts joked at the time. "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," he added, given that the coronavirus pandemic and its various variants are still imposing major restrictions on Americans' everyday lives.
Watts' surviving bandmates hoped to have him back for the group's 60th anniversary celebrations in 2022, which will include the release of their first album of original songs in 17 years.
Rest In Peace.