Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has died at 80

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FILE - Ronnie Wood, from left, Charlie Watts and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones perform on July 15, 2019, in New Orleans. Watts' publicist, Bernard Doherty, said Watts passed away peacefully in a London hospital surrounded by his family on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. He was 80. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)

[AP] Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has died at the age of 80. Publicist Bernard Doherty said Tuesday that Watts “passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family.” The drummer provided the backbone of the Rolling Stones’ songs for more than half a century. Watts had announced he would not tour with the Stones in 2021 because of an undefined health issue. He joined the Stones early in 1963 and ranked just behind Mick Jagger and Keith Richards as the group’s longest lasting and most essential member.

FILE – Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones performs during the concert of their No Filter Europe Tour 2017 at U Arena in Nanterre, outside Paris, France, on Oct. 22, 2017. Watts’ publicist, Bernard Doherty, said Watts passed away peacefully in a London hospital surrounded by his family on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. He was 80. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

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