charlie watts cause of death

What Did Charlie Watts Die From? Discover His Life and Legacy

Charlie Watts, the legendary drummer for the Rolling Stones, left an indelible mark on the world of music. His death in August 2021 at the age of 80 sent shockwaves through the industry, leaving fans and fellow musicians wondering: “What did Charlie Watts die from?” This article delves into the life, career, and cause of death of the acclaimed drummer.

Early Life and Introduction to Music

Charlie Watts was born on June 2, 1941, in London, England. Raised in Wembley, he developed a deep love for jazz from a young age, collecting records by jazz luminaries like Charlie Parker. His passion for music led him to teach himself to play the drums, initially on a homemade kit before his father bought him a proper one.

Joining the Rolling Stones

Watts joined the Rolling Stones in 1963, swiftly becoming the backbone of the band’s sound. His unique drumming style, heavily influenced by jazz, brought a distinctive swing to the band’s music that set them apart from other rock ‘n’ roll bands of the era.

Establishing a Lasting Legacy

Over the course of his 58-year tenure with the Rolling Stones, Watts’ drumming featured on all 23 of the band’s studio albums. He also performed in every single live concert until 2019, solidifying his crucial role in the band’s enduring success.

Personal Life and Interests

Beyond his music career, Watts led a relatively private life. He married Shirley Anne Shepherd in 1964, with whom he had one daughter, Seraphina, born in 1968. Watts and his wife also had a granddaughter named Charlotte. The family lived in Devon, where Watts pursued his other passion, running an Arabian horse stud farm.

Health Struggles and Cancer Diagnosis

In 2004, Watts was diagnosed with throat cancer. He underwent radiotherapy and the cancer went into remission. Despite this health scare, Watts continued to perform with the Rolling Stones, showcasing his resilience and dedication to his craft.

Watts’ Final Years and Departure from the Stones

In August 2021, Watts announced that he would not be participating in the Rolling Stones’ upcoming U.S. tour due to health issues. This marked the first time he would be absent from a Rolling Stones tour since he joined the band.

Later that month, the music world was shaken by the news of Watts’ death. The cause of his death was not initially disclosed, leading to speculation and heightening the question: “What did Charlie Watts die from?”

What Did Charlie Watts Die from: Throat Cancer?

It was later revealed by bandmate Keith Richards that Watts had been battling throat cancer since 2004, suggesting that this may have contributed to his death. However, the exact cause of death remains undisclosed.

Remembering Charlie Watts: Tributes and Posthumous Honors

Following the news of his death, there was an outpouring of tributes from celebrities and fans alike, including fellow musicians Ringo Starr, Elton John, and Questlove. Watts was celebrated for his unique drumming style and his immense contribution to rock ‘n’ roll.

The Rolling Stones After Watts’ Death

Despite the loss of their longtime drummer, the Rolling Stones continued their scheduled tour, with Steve Jordan stepping in to fill Watts’ shoes. This decision received Watts’ blessing before his death, as he expressed his desire for the band to continue making music.


The question “What did Charlie Watts die from?” may never be fully answered. However, what remains certain is the lasting impact that Watts had on the world of music. His unique drumming style and unwavering dedication to the Rolling Stones have cemented him as one of the greatest drummers in rock history. His legacy continues to inspire musicians worldwide, ensuring that his beat goes on.