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He is the only band member to have performed on every one of the band’s albums and in every single live concert up until 2019.
Charlie Watts: ‘You get cancer and waste away and die’ – star’s health battle before death
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Once labelled as the “greatest drummer of his generation” due to his skills as a musician, Watts’ death was confirmed by his publicist on August 24 in a statement that revealed he had passed away peacefully in a London hospital, surrounded by his family. Although the exact cause of the star’s death was never revealed, shortly before his passing Watts was forced to pull out of the band’s US tour after undergoing emergency surgery. Again the medical procedure was unspecified but it left the rock star needing to take some time to fully recover. In the aftermath of the star’s death there was an increase in searches regarding symptoms of throat cancer, which the star battled back in 2004.
In a throwback interview Watts recalled the moments after his diagnosis he shared: “It was benign, but [the doctor] said we should take it out. On the slide, it had tiny cancer cells on it.
“He said, ‘You have cancer of the whatever.’ And that night I thought I was going to die. I thought that’s what you did.
“You get cancer and waste away and die.”
After being diagnosed the star had two surgeries, the second in order to take cancer-affected lymph nodes out.
Charlie Watts: The drummer passed away in August 2021, the cause was never released (Image: Getty)
He continued to say: “When they [take out the lymph nodes], the muscles go,” he said in 2005, a year after beating cancer.
“Then you sit around for eight weeks in treatment. You can’t lift your arm. It’s like being paralysed. It was a worry, because of what I do for a living.
“We’ve got a tour, and I didn’t know if I could get through a song. You can’t stop once you get going, if you’re a drummer… I didn’t know if I could make it… but it’s amazing how quickly your body heals.”
From feeling on the brink of death to going into remission a year after having surgery and subsequent chemotherapy, it cannot be said that throat cancer was the cause of Watts death.
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However, for many diagnosed with throat cancer this is not the case. Cancer Research UK explains that there are several different parts of the throat that can become cancerous so throat cancer is an umbrella term for cancer of the general area.
Throat cancers could be in one of two main areas that doctors call the:
- Pharynx – a passage that makes sure food and drink go in one direction (down the food pipe) and air goes in the other (up and down the windpipe).
- Head and neck – cancers that start in the head and neck area (for example, the tongue, the nose, voice box or thyroid gland).
The leading UK-based charity explains that symptoms of throat cancer are often similar to other much less serious conditions, sometimes making it difficult for cancer to be caught in its early stages.
For example, common symptoms of throat cancer include:
- Ear pain
- A sore throat
- A lump in the neck
- Difficulty swallowing
- Change in your voice or speech
- Unexplained weight loss
- A cough
- Shortness of breath
- A feeling of something stuck in the throat.
Members of the Rolling Stones with Charlie Watts [far right] (Image: Getty)
Due to these symptoms also being connected to other more common illnesses such as throat infections or a common cold, individuals are urged by the NHS to seek their GP’s opinion if they notice any new signs and symptoms that are persistent.
Although it is not clear why throat cell mutations happen in the first place, certain lifestyle factors have been identified to increase an individual’s risk of throat cancer.
These include the following:
- Tobacco use, including smoking and chewing tobacco
- Excessive alcohol use
- Viral infections, including human papillomavirus (HPV) and Epstein-Barr virus
- A diet lacking in fruits and vegetables
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Exposure to toxic substances at work.
Many people remain unaware that HPV can cause cancer or assume that it can only cause cervical cancer, but in reality it can cause a handful of cancers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recent studies have indicated that as many as 60-70 percent of throat cancers may be linked to HPV – or caused by a combination of HPV, alcohol and tobacco.
Throat cancer: The condition causes a sore throat and difficulty swallowing (Image: Getty)
She said: “There are no screening guidelines to screen for throat cancer. There are no standard tests to determine if you harbour the virus.”
Once diagnosed, throat cancer is typically treated with a combination of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and targeted cancer medicines. If diagnosed early enough, radiotherapy or surgery can be used to remove all cancerous cells and cure the condition completely.
For individuals whose cancer has spread to the lymph nodes a procedure known as neck dissection is used. For larger tumours surgery to remove whole parts of the throat may be needed. For example it may be necessary to remove an individual’s entire voice box. During this surgery the windpipe is then attached to a hole (stoma) in the throat to allow the person to breathe (tracheotomy).
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Keith Richards Breaks Silence About Charlie Watts’ Death
The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards opened up about his recently deceased bandmate, drummer Charlie Watts during a new interview with Rolling Stone. According to rockstar, the band was planning on making new music and touring once Watts feels himself better but he, unfortunately, passed away.
As many of you know, Charlie Watts had been the drummer of the Rolling Stones since 1963. Throughout all these 58 years, he managed to mesmerize his fans with his one-of-a-kind, jazz-influenced drumming style and became one of the three members of the Stones to have performed on every one of the band’s studio albums.
‘The Wembley Whammer,’ as called by lead singer Mick Jagger, is often regarded as one of the greatest drummers of all time. Unfortunately for his fans, the drummer was diagnosed with throat cancer in June 2004 despite quit smoking many years earlier. After a series of treatments such as radiotherapy, his cancer went into remission.
Since then, the musician has been rocking the world with the Stones, releasing albums and touring all over the globe. However, it was announced on August 5 that Watts wasn’t able to continue the remaining dates of the band’s US No Filter Tour due to a medical procedure and Steven Jordan temporarily replaced him on drums.
Less than 20 days after the announcement, Charlie Watts passed away at a London hospital on 24 August 2021, at the age of 80. Neither cause of death nor his unidentified surgery has been officially announced to this date but fans, legendary musicians, his family, and friends have been grieving this great loss regardless of its reasons.
Following the drummer’s passing, the Rolling Stones continued performing and played their first show without Watts on September 20 for a gig in Foxborough, Mass. The No Filter tour will officially launch on September 26 in St. Louis without any cancelations.
During a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Keith Richards reflected on his bandmate’s passing as well as the band’s future, considering the fact that there’s a tour in the near future. According to the guitarist, the upcoming tour is going to be about finding what’s right and wrong without their beloved drummer.
Prior to Charlie Watts passing, the band expecting him to heal and they were planning on touring with him as well as making new music. Much like his other bandmates, the drummer was prepared to continue with the Stones as well.
During the interview, Richards said:
“The tour will be about finding out what feels right and possible. It’s more that way. We hit a very difficult point, to take this thing out. But we’re gonna do it. Charlie was prepared for us to go ahead. We were expecting him to pick it up somewhere. Steve was, thankfully, going to be the pickup. But things ain’t turned out that way.”
Regardless of fans’ expectations, with all the respect, Charlie Watts would also want the Rolling Stones fans to see the band carrying on meeting them on stage. Although some fans criticized the remaining members’ decision to return to the stage so soon, some actually praised them for keeping the ‘show must go on’ policy.
- Charlie Watts
- Keith Richards
- Rolling Stones
Who was Charlie Watts and what was his cause of death?
SUPERSTAR drummer for the Rolling Stones achieved international success with the band over 60 years.
Charlie Watts died at the age of 80 in 2021 after an emergency operation, leaving his legacy and fortune to his family.
Who is Charlie Watts?
Wembley Whammer, Charlie Watts was born on June 2, 1941 in London, England.
He grew up in Wembley and became life-long friends with jazz bass player Dave Green.
Charlie was given his first drum kit in 1955 and practised drumming while growing his jazz record collection.
The young rocker rose to fame when he joined the Rolling Stones in 1963.
As a band they toured the world, fronted by Mick Jagger, and produced 30 studio albums, despite tensions within the group.
The Rolling Stones are the only artist to top the UK Album Charts in six different decades and are tied for the second most Number 1 albums on the Official UK Chart, surpassed only by the Beatles.
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Multi-talented Charlie also designed the band’s record sleeves and tour stages.
He is the only band member to have performed on every one of the band’s albums and in every single live concert up until 2019.
In 1989, Charlie and the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Charlie was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame with the Rolling Stones in 2004 and then to the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame two years later.
The Wembley Whammer is regarded as one of the greatest drummers in rock history.
Outside of his stardom, he married Shirley Anne Shepherd in 1964, who he had met before his meteoric rise to fame.
Together they had one child – a girl named Seraphina, born March 1968.
Charlie has one granddaughter named Charlotte but remained private about his personal life during his career.
The couple lived in Devon and ran a stud farm when Charlie wasn’t touring.
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What was his cause of death?
On August 24, 2021, drumming legend Charlie Watts passed away, as announced by his publicist.
It was revealed by bandmate Keith Richards in March 2022 that the rock icon had been battling throat cancer since 2004, which eventually took his life.
At the time the cause of death was not confirmed but it was known he had been for surgery for an unspecified medical issue.
In early August 2021, the band had replaced him with Steve Jordan for their US tour as he had to pull out.
At the time, bandmate Ronnie Wood insisted the planned shows would go on with or without Watts.
Charlie’s publicist confirmed the rock and roll legend died peacefully at his home surrounded by his family.
His said in a statement: “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.