A mainstay of the Rolling Stones revealed in a new interview that he has recently had a secret fight with cancer. The U.K. publication The Daily Mail reports that guitarist Ronnie Wood said he had “a touch of lung cancer” that required surgery to remove part of his lung.
Wood told the publication: “There was a week when everything hung in the balance and it could have been curtains, time to say goodbye.”
Wood received the diagnosis in May, when the band was getting physicals in advance of a European tour. Wood is a lontime chain smoker who quit cigarettes last year just before his newborn twins, Gracie and Alice, arrived.
“I had this thought at the back of my mind after I gave up smoking a year ago: ‘How can I have got through 50 years of chain-smoking — and all the rest of my bad habits — without something going on in there?” Wood told the publication. “So I went along to see our good old doctor, Richard Dawood, because we [Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts] all have to be checked before we go on tour, and he asked me if I wanted him to go deeper and check my heart, lungs and blood. I said, ‘Go for it.'”
Wood adds that the doctor “came back with the news that I had this supernova burning away on my left lung. And, to be totally honest, I wasn’t surprised. I knew I hadn’t had a chest X-ray since I went into Cottonwood [a rehab clinic in Tucson, Arizona] in 2002. He asked me what I wanted to do and my answer was simple: ‘Just get it out of me.'”
Fortunately, the cancer had not spread to his lymph nodes.
“I’m OK now,” Wood said. “But I’m going to have a checkup every three months. They caught it early. People have to get checked. Seriously have to get checked. I was bloody lucky but then I’ve always had a very strong guardian angel looking out for me. By rights I shouldn’t be here.”
Former Rolling Stones bass player Bill Wyman has also had a bout with cancer, announcing in March 2016 that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was expected to make a full recovery.