The Rolling Stones drummer, Charlie Watts, has throat cancer, it emerged last night. Watts, 63, who gave up smoking in the 1980s, is halfway through a five-week course of radiotherapy, tabloid newspapers reported. He was operated on after he discovered a lump in his neck in June.
Watts has apparently been told by doctors that he has "every chance" of a full recovery. He is being cared for by his wife of 40 years, Shirley, and daughter Seraphina, 36.
A Rolling Stones spokesman told News of the World: "Having been diagnosed with throat cancer following a minor operation in June, Charlie is reaching the end of radiotherapy. He's expected to make a full recovery and start work with the rest of the band later in the year."
Watts is the oldest member of the Stones. Mick Jagger is 61, Ronnie Wood 57, Keith Richards 60 and ex-member Bill Wyman 67. In April, the drummer played with his jazz band, the Charlie Watts Tentet, at Ronnie Scott's jazz club in London and in New York.
Watts no longer drinks alcohol, after suffering a drink and drug addiction in the early 1980s.
Watts was expected to quit the Stones after Wyman did in 1994. However, he has stayed on and the Stones were reunited for a world tour two years ago.
When Watts turned 60, he admitted that he felt too old to keep playing. "I do feel a bit old for whatever it's called I do for a living," he said, "but I do it for the money."
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