Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts dies aged 80

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Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has died at the age of 80, his publicist says.

In a statement, Bernard Doherty said: "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, who celebrated his 80th birthday in June, joined The Rolling Stones in 1963.

He was one of the longest serving members of the band.

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Earlier this year, it was announced the drummer would miss an upcoming tour to the United States, as he was recovering from an unspecified medical procedure.

In 2004 Watts was treated for throat cancer, and was later given the all clear after six weeks of radiotherapy.

Having given up smoking in the 1980s, the drummer said he was lucky the doctors caught the cancer early.

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