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Mick Jagger leads Rolling Stones’ tribute to drummer Charlie Watts

By Jeevan Ravindran, CNN

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood have paid tribute to their Rolling Stones bandmate Charlie Watts, who died Tuesday at the age of 80.

Drummer Watts, who became part of the Stones’ longtime foursome alongside Jagger, Richards and Wood, played for the band for more than 50 years.

His bandmates led the tributes on social media, with Jagger posting a picture on Twitter and Instagram of Watts drumming.

Richards also posted a picture to his social media accounts of a drum kit with a “Closed” sign hanging over it.

Wood posted a picture of himself with Watts, adding: “I love you my fellow Gemini, I will dearly miss you. You are the best.”

The Stones had announced earlier this month that Watts would miss the band’s upcoming North American leg of its “No Filter” tour after undergoing a medical procedure for an unknown condition.

On Tuesday, Watts’ spokesperson told CNN Watts had “passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family,” adding that he was “one of the greatest drummers of his generation.”

Several other musicians also shared their memories and tributes for Watts on social media, with many saying they had been personally inspired by the drummer.

“Love you Charlie, I’ve always loved you. Beautiful man, and great condolences and sympathies to his family,” former Beatle Paul McCartney said in a Twitter video, adding that Watts’ death was a “huge blow” to the Rolling Stones.

Mike McCready, lead guitarist for Pearl Jam said: “Any of us in a rock band wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for Charlie.”

Meanwhile, rock band Aerosmith posted on Twitter: “We are extremely saddened to hear the passing of the legendary Charlie Watts. Our deepest condolences to Charlie’s family and The Rolling Stones.” Aerosmith added that Watts had “given us all so much.”

In 1962, Brian Jones formed the Rolling Stones with singer Jagger, pianist Ian Stewart and guitarists Richards and Dick Taylor. Watts initially turned down the group’s first offer to join, later conceding and playing his first gig with them in January 1963.

Fellow drummer and former member of the Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart, said Watts was “a colossus in the world of rock ‘n’ roll drumming. His hands and feet danced like Nureyev, so elegant, so graceful.”

On Tuesday night, the Caesars Superdome in Louisiana, formerly known as the Louisiana Superdome, displayed the Rolling Stones’ signature logo of a tongue and lips in honor of Watts.

Meanwhile, London Underground workers paid tribute to Watts with a touching poem. “Charlie Watts, you are a legend and we will never forget you. Love is strong for you and may it give you shelter, as you get on your cloud and bring rock ‘n’ roll to paradise.”

Watts is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Shirley, his daughter Seraphina, and his granddaughter Charlotte.

“A very sad day. Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer,” singer Elton John wrote in a tweet. “The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company. My deepest condolences to Shirley, Seraphina and Charlotte. And of course, The Rolling Stones.”

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Hilary Clarke contributed to this report.

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