The musician “passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family,” a representative for Watts confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday. Watts was 80 years old at the time of his death.
The band also confirmed his death on Twitter.
“So sad to hear about Charlie Watts, the Stones drummer dying,” McCartney said in a video shared to Twitter. “He was a lovely guy, and I knew he was ill, but I didn’t know he was this ill. So lots of love to his family, his wife and kids, his extended family. And condolences to the Stones, it will be a huge blow to them because Charlie was a rock. A fantastic drummer, steady as a rock. Love you Charlie. I’ve always loved you, beautiful man. Great condolences and sympathies to his family.”
“A very sad day,” Elton John wrote. “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.”
“I feel terrible for Charlie’s family. Charlie was a great drummer and I loved the Stones music, they made great records. Love & Mercy,” Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson wrote on Twitter.
“The beat of The Stones. There are no words, every groove has spoken for itself,” Lenny Kravitz tweeted.
“Rest In Power #CharlieWatts RIP. You are a smooth brother. Thanks for all the great music,” Nile Rodgers said.
“Charlie Watts was the most elegant and dignified drummer in rock and roll,” Joan Jett wrote. “He played exactly what was needed – no more – no less. He is one of a kind.”
“#God bless Charlie Watts we’re going to miss you man peace and love to the family Ringo,” Ringo Starr wrote.
Concerns about Watts’ health came up earlier this year when he announced that, despite being the band’s resident drummer since 1963, he would be sitting out their 2021 U.S. “No Filter” tour in order to recover from an undisclosed medical procedure.
The quiet, elegantly dressed Watts was often ranked with Keith Moon, Ginger Baker and a handful of others as a premier rock drummer, respected worldwide for his muscular, swinging style as the band rose from its scruffy beginnings to international superstardom.
He joined the Stones early in 1963 and remained over the next 60 years, ranked just behind Mick Jagger and Keith Richards as the group’s longest lasting and most essential member.
Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Celebrities remember Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts: ‘He is one of a kind’