THE Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has died at the age of 80.

The news comes weeks after the former Lewes resident pulled out of the band's No Filter tour following an emergency heart operation.

The star’s death was confirmed by his London publicist Bernard Doherty today.

A spokesman for Charlie confirmed his absence from the US shows earlier this month, revealing that the rocker needed to “rest and recuperate” following the medical procedure.

He said the operation had been “completely successful” but said the star needed time to recover.

Charlie said: "For once my timing has been a little off. I am working hard to get fully fit but I have today accepted on the advice of the experts that this will take a while."

Bernard Doherty 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.

"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."

Charlie was born on June 2, 1941, and grew up in Wembley, north-west London.

His father, also Charles Watts, was a lorry driver while his mother Lillian was a homemaker and the couple shared two children – Charlie and his sister Linda.

His parents gave him his first drum kit in 1955 and by the age of 16, he was drumming in jazz groups and a regular on the London club scene.

Alexis Korner, referred to as the founding father of British blues, invited Charlie to join his band Blues Incorporated.

It was then that he met Mick Jagger, who would guest as a vocalist occasionally.

Jagger also had his own group with Keith Richards and Brian Jones but lacked a regular drummer.

Charlie initially turned down an invitation to join them in favour of his day job as a graphic designer at an advertising agency, but eventually made his first appearance with the Rolling Stones in January 1963 at the Flamingo club in London’s Soho.

He married Shirley Shepherd in 1964 and following number one hits such as It’s All Over Now, Little Red Rooster and The Last Time, he used the proceeds to buy a 16th-century house in Lewes.

In 2016, Charlie was ranked 12th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest drummers of all time.

He leaves behind Shirley, daughter Seraphina, and granddaughter Charlotte.