Mick Jagger has said The Rolling Stones look forward to welcoming Charlie Watts back "as soon as he is fully recovered" following news the drummer will likely miss the band's upcoming US tour.
A spokesman for Watts, 80, confirmed he is "unlikely to be available for the resumption of the Rolling Stones USA No Filter Tour this fall" as he recovers from an unspecified medical procedure.
The band, who last played Ireland in May, 2018, are due to resume the tour in the US in September, following its postponement last year.
Watts’ spokesman said: "Charlie has had a procedure which was completely successful, but I gather his doctors this week concluded that he now needs proper rest and recuperation.
"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."
Following the news, Jagger welcomed Watts’ replacement, Steve Jordan, who will join the band when the tour starts in St Louis on September 26, with dates also scheduled for Pittsburgh, Nashville, Minneapolis, Dallas and more.
He tweeted: "We really look forward to welcoming Charlie back as soon as he is fully recovered. Thank you to our friend Steve Jordan for stepping in, so we can still play all the shows for you this fall."
We really look forward to welcoming Charlie back as soon as he is fully recovered.— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) August 5, 2021
Thank you to our friend Steve Jordan for stepping in, so we can still play all the shows for you this fall. https://t.co/IOoLgIQqND
In a statement Watts 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.
"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.
"I have therefore asked my great friend Steve Jordan to stand in for me."
Jordan said it was an "absolute honour and privilege" to be Watts’ understudy.
He added: "I am looking forward to rehearsing with Mick, Keith and Ronnie. No-one will be happier than me to give up my seat on the drum-riser as soon as Charlie tells me he is good to go."
In 2004 Watts was treated for throat cancer at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital.
Source: Press Association