The star's former band mates Mick Jagger and Keith Richards lead tributes to their friend and colleague.

The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts passed away on Tuesday in a London hospital. The performer was 80-years-old.

The drummer was previously treated for throat cancer in 2004 and he was not expected to take part in The Rolling Stones' US tour, which is due to start next month.

Watts had been a member of the rock band since January 1963, joining Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones for their rhythm and blues/rock group.

A statement released by the band's publicist yesterday read: "It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts."

It also went on to say that Watts was "a cherished husband, father and grandfather" and "one of the greatest drummers of his generation".

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have lead the tributes being paid to their late friend online. Mick tweeted a picture of the drummer when he was caught enjoying a light-hearted moment, while Keith shared a picture of the band's drum kit with a "Closed" sign hanging from a microphone stand.

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Joan Jett and many more famed musicians and performers have also sent their condolences as they remember the late Charlie Watts.