Charlie Watts insisted "the show must go on" after pulling out of The Rolling Stones' U.S. tour.

The 80-year-old drummer is "unlikely to be available" to join his bandmates on the American leg of their No Filter tour later this year after recently undergoing an undisclosed medical procedure and, although they can't wait to have him back, the group wants him to be "fully recovered".

Session drummer Steve Jordan will step in for the gigs.

Guitarist Ronnie Wood wrote on Instagram: "I will miss Charlie on our upcoming tour, but he told me the show must go on. I'm really looking forward to Charlie getting back on stage with us as soon as he's fully recovered. A huge thank you to the band's old friend Steve Jordan for rockin' on in ­Charlie's place."

His comments were echoed by singer Mick Jagger, who said they are looking forward to welcoming Charlie back "as soon as he is fully recovered".

And guitarist Keith Richards admitted the news had been "a bit of a blow".

He said: "This has been a bit of a blow to all of us, to say the least, and we're all wishing for Charlie to have a speedy recovery. Charlie insisted sitting out of the tour was the right thing to do because he didn't want to disappoint fans who had already seen the gigs delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic."