Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts might not be a part of the band's US tour, which was postponed to this year because of the pandemic, as he is recovering from a medical procedure.
Doctors have advised the musician to rest and recover from his procedure, which was successful, according to a statement from Watts's spokesman on Wednesday. The statement did not say what the medical issue was.
"For once my timing has been a little off," Watts said. "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.
"After all the fans’ suffering caused by Covid I really do not want the many RS fans who have been holding tickets for this tour to be disappointed by another postponement or cancellation."
Watts turned 80 in June, while the rest of the band's members – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood – are in their seventies. The band has played more than 40 tours, making the quartet one of the most enduring and successful rock acts of all time.
Steve Jordan, who is also a drummer and has worked with Richards on solo projects, will take the stage for Watts. Jordan has also been a member of house bands on Saturday Night Live and Late Night with David Letterman.
"With rehearsals starting in a couple of weeks it’s very disappointing to say the least, but it’s also fair to say no one saw this coming,” said the band.
A few weeks ago, the band announced rescheduled dates for its US tour, which will now kick off in September.
Jagger underwent heart valve replacement surgery in 2019 and was back on stage after two months when the Rolling Stones kicked off a delayed North American tour.
How old are the Rolling Stones?
Jagger, perhaps the most famous of the Stones, turned 78 on July 26. He was born in 1943, in Dartford, England, the oldest son of a teacher and homemaker. He first got his hands on a guitar at 14, when he was inspired by blues records from artists such as Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf.
He was a founding member of the group, which was established in 1962.
Richards was born in 1943, also in Dartford, and turns 78 in December. His father worked in a factory, but Richards got the music bug from his maternal grandfather, Augustus Theodore "Gus" Dupree, who was in jazz band Gus Dupree and His Boy.
Richards, along with Jagger, Watts, Brian Jones and Bill Wyman, was in the first stable line-up of the band.
Wood, who has just been given the all-clear after being diagnosed with cancer for the second time, is the youngest of the bunch at 74. He was born in 1947 in Hillingdon, west London, into a family of canal barge operators. He joined the Rolling Stones in 1975, following the departure of guitarist Mick Taylor. At the time, Wood was a member of the band Faces, which disbanded in December that year, leaving him to become a fully fledged Stone.
Watts is the oldest, at 80, having been born in 1941, in Bloomsbury, London. His father was a lorry driver, but his parents bought Watts his first drum kit in the mid-1950s, when he was a teenager. He went on to play at the English capitals rhythm and blues clubs, where he met Jones, Jagger and Richards.
Additional reporting by Reuters