Sir Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have paid tribute to their bandmate Charlie Watts, following the death of the Rolling Stones drummer.

In posts on Twitter and Instagram, singer Sir Mick shared a photograph of Watts smiling while seated behind a drum kit.

Guitarist Richards also took to social media to share a picture  of a set of drums with a “closed” sign on them.

Watts died aged 80 in a London hospital on Tuesday, the band’s publicist said.

The news came weeks after it was announced that he would miss the Rolling Stones’ US tour starting next month to recover from an unspecified medical procedure. Watts was previously treated for throat cancer in 2004.

He had been a member of the Stones since January 1963, when he joined Sir Mick, Keith Richards and Brian Jones in their fledgling group.

Watts helped them become, with the Beatles, one of the bands who took rock ‘n’ roll to the masses in the 1960s with classics such as (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Get Off My Cloud and Sympathy for the Devil.

The photograph chosen by Sir Mick in his social media posts does not carry a caption. It shows Watts performing with his own jazz band, The ABC and D of Boogie Woogie, at the Casino in Herisau, Switzerland in January 2010.

Beatles Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr were among the other stars from the world of rock to remember Watts.

Sir Paul described Watts as “a lovely guy” and “a fantastic drummer” who was “steady as a rock”, while Fab Four drummer Sir Ringo said on Twitter: “God bless Charlie Watts we’re going to miss you man”. Sir Elton John wrote on Twitter : “A very sad day. Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer. The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company.”

The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson said  he was “shocked” to hear the news about Watts, who he described as “a great drummer”.

The Who frontman Roger Daltrey said Watts was the “perfect gentleman, as sharp in his manner of dress as he was on the drums”.

And drummer Kenney Jones, who played with The Who and the Small Faces told the BBC Watts was the “heart and soul of The Rolling Stones”.

Other musicians to pay tribute included Police drummer Stewart Copeland, Queen guitarist Brian May, Paul Weller, Joan Armatrading and Lenny Kravitz.