Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood has opened up about his cancer diagnosis in a new interview with the Daily Mail’s Event magazine.
The 70-year-old British rocker revealed he was diagnosed with lung cancer about three months ago during a routine check up for the upcoming Rolling Stones tour.
“I’ve had a fight with a touch of lung cancer,” he said. “There was a week when everything hung in the balance and it could have been curtains — time to say goodbye. You never know what is going to happen.”
Doctors performed a five-hour operation to remove the growth and part of Wood’s lung, but luckily, the musician is “OK now,” he told the outlet. Following the surgery, Wood said in a statement he was grateful to doctors for finding the growth early. He’ll continue to get checked every three months, and encouraged others to do the same.
″People have to get checked. Seriously have to get checked,” he said. “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.”
Wood, who became a father to twins in 2016, admitted he wasn’t totally surprised by the diagnosis. The musician noted that he’d wondered about the state of his health in the past, especially because of his “50 years of chain-smoking ― and all the rest of my bad habits.” When his doctor asked if Wood wanted a more thorough check at his heart and lungs, the rocker encouraged it.
“And then he came back with the news that I had this supernova burning away on my left lung,” he said. “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.’”
Wood credited his wife, Sally Humphreys, with being a solid support system throughout the whole process. The two kept the diagnosis to themselves, Wood said, because they “didn’t want to put anyone else though the hell we were going through.”
He also revealed that, if the cancer had spread beyond his lungs, he wouldn’t have gone through chemo. It wasn’t because he thought chemo wouldn’t work, though. It was because “this hair wasn’t going anywhere,” he said.
After the interview was published, Wood thanked fans for the support on Twitter.
“I’m feeling great and ready to see you on the road next month,” he wrote.
You can read Wood’s full interview at the Daily Mail.