Charlie Watts’ wife Shirley has died aged 82.

Shirley Shepherd’s passing from a brief illness comes 16 months after The Rolling Stones drummer’s death aged 80 last August after a cancer battle.

The couple’s family, which includes their daughter Seraphina and only granddaughter Charlotte, said in a statement on Monday (19.12.22) their mum was “reunited with her beloved Charlie”.

They added: “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.

“Shirley died peacefully on Friday 16th December in Devon after a short illness surrounded by her family.

“She will be also sadly missed by her sisters Jackie and Jill, and her brother Stephen. Reunited now forever with her beloved Charlie.”

Born Shirley Ann Shepherd in September 1938, she was studying sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 1961 when she met Charlie, then a graphic designer with an advertising agency and jazz musician in his spare time.

The pair met during his first rehearsal with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated and married in 1964, a year after Charlie joined the Stones.

Four years later Shirley – who became a renowned horse breeder while married to Charlie – gave birth to their daughter Seraphina.

Charlie said of his long-time love: “She is an incredible woman. 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.”

He also credited Shirley for saving him from the “illness” of getting into speed and heroin after the Stones shot to fame, saying he almost “lost” his wife and family, while his daughter told him his drug use left him looking like Dracula.

Charlie was treated for throat cancer in 2004 and given the all-clear after a four-month fight with the disease before his death on August 4 2021.