Charlie Watts’ wife Shirley has died aged 82 following a short illness – 16 months after the Rolling Stones drummer lost his battle with cancer.
In a statement released on Monday, their children announced that Shirley was ‘reunited with her beloved Charlie’.
They wrote: ‘It is with great sadness that Seraphina, Charlotte and Barry announce the death of their much-loved mother, grandmother and mother-in-law Shirley Watts.
Sad loss: Shirley Watts, wife of late Rolling Stones drummer Charlie has died aged 82 following a short illness, it was announced on Monday – the couple’s final picture together
Shirley died peacefully on Friday 16th December in Devon after a short illness surrounded by her family.
She will also be sadly missed by her sisters Jackie and Jill, and her brother Stephen.
‘Reunited now forever with her beloved Charlie.’
Together: The Rolling Stones drummer met his wife in 1961, and they married three years later before he rose to fame with the band.
Born Shirley Ann Shepherd in September 1938, she was studying sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 1961 when she met Charlie Watts who was then a graphic designer and part time jazz musician.
Charlie was working a day job at an advertising agency at the time and was gigging as a drummer with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, with the pair meeting during his first rehearsal.
They married in 1964 before the Rolling Stones shot to fame, with Charlie joining the band a year earlier.
Eye-catching: The couple are pictured with their daughter Seraphina at Mick Jagger’s 50th birthday party on 18 July 1993
Four years later, Shirley gave birth to their daughter, Seraphina. Shirley and Charlie eventually moved to Devon where she ran a world class Arabian stud farm, becoming a highly respected breeder and show person in the International Arabian horse community.
Throughout her 57-year marriage to the Rolling Stones drummer, Shirley remained the love of his life and their love remained constant throughout the years.
Shirley was an accomplished sculptor and huge supporter of animal rescue.
News: In a statement released on Monday, their children announced that Shirley was ‘reunited with her beloved Charlie’ (Shirley and Charlie pictured at the funeral of Brian Jones, former guitarist with the Rolling Stones, in 1969)
During an interview with NME, Charlie once explained: ‘I don’t have all the trappings of that. Having said that, I do have four vintage cars and can’t drive the bloody things.’
‘She is an incredible woman,’ Charlie once said, speaking of his wife. ‘The one regret I have of this life is that I was never home enough. But she always says when I come off tour that I am a nightmare and tells me to go back out.’
Charlie has also credited Shirley and their daughter Seraphina for saving his life when he appeared to get swept up in one aspect of the rock and roll lifestyle – drugs.
Heartbreaking: The statement read: ‘Shirley died peacefully on Friday 16th December in Devon after a short illness surrounded by her family’ (Charlie and Shirley pictured at Georgia May Jagger’s christening in 1992)
Speaking of the early Eighties, he said: ‘I became totally another person. At the end of two years on speed and heroin, I was very ill.
My daughter used to tell me I looked like Dracula. I nearly lost my wife and everything over my behaviour. I went mad, really. I nearly killed myself.’
Shirley’s husband, Rolling Stone drummer Charlie, died just 16 months ago in August last year, at the age of 80.
His London publicist, Bernard Doherty, said in a statement at the time: ‘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 a member of The Rolling Stones, one of the greatest drummers of his generation.
RIP: The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, Shirley’s husband, died at the age of 80, 16 months ago in August last year
We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends be respected at this difficult time.
Charlie reportedly passed on his £29.6 million fortune to his wife Shirley and their daughter Seraphina.
Earlier the same month, it was announced that Charlie was to miss the band’s US tour.
A spokesman for him said at the time he was ‘unlikely to be available for the resumption of the Rolling Stones USA No Filter Tour this fall’ as he recovered from an unspecified medical procedure.
In 2004, Charlie was treated for throat cancer at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital and he was given the all-clear after a four-month battle with the disease, involving six weeks of intensive radiotherapy treatment.
He was diagnosed after discovering a lump on the left side of his neck.
Doctors performed a biopsy which confirmed the tumor was malignant and he was diagnosed with throat cancer in June of that year.
Hitmakers: The London-born drummer (left) joined The Rolling Stones in 1963 after meeting Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones while playing in rhythm and blues clubs