Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood Says He Battled Cancer During Lockdown

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Ronnie Wood, via his Facebook page, August 2017

Ronnie Wood revealed in an April 25, 2021 interview that he has battled cancer, for the second time in three years. In an interview with the U.K. paper, The Sun, the Rolling Stones guitarist, 73, says that he was diagnosed during lockdown with a rare and aggressive small-cell cancer. Wood says he “came through with the all-clear.”

As the paper notes, “Small-cell cancer commonly arises in the lung but can affect areas such as the prostate, pancreas, bladder or lymph nodes.

It is so-called as the cancerous cells appear as a different size and shape under a microscope.”

Wood, sober for over a decade now, attributes his fate to a “higher power.”

“I’m going through a lot of problems now,” he said, “but throughout my recovery, you have to let it go. And when you hand the outcome over to your higher power, that is a magic thing.

“That brings you back to the [Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous] Serenity Prayer: ‘Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change’. That’s incredible. What will be will be, it’s nothing to do with me. All I can do is stay positive in my attitude, be strong and fight it, and the rest is up to my higher power.”

Wood turns 74 on June 1, 2021.

Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards, MetLife Stadium, August 1, 2019

Back in 2018, Wood told the commuter daily paper, Metro, he was cancer free. The guitarist had revealed in August 2017 that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. At that time, Wood told the Mail on Sunday. “There was a week when everything hung in the balance and it could have been curtains, time to say goodbye.” Wood’s doctor “came back with the news that I had this supernova burning away on my left lung.”

In a Q-and-A in the March 26, 2018 edition of Metro, the reporter asked: “How is your cancer?” Wood replied: “I had three months of check-ups and it was all clear and they said go and enjoy life.”

He was then asked: “Would you turn down chemotherapy if you wanted to keep your hair?” Woody’s answer: “I don’t want to lose my hair. If your body is riddled with cancer, it’s a losing cause. Luckily, all mine was contained within the left lung and I was fortunate enough to get shot of it, bang. There was none in the rest of my body so I didn’t require chemo.”

Wood has been open about his use of various substances throughout his life, and admitted that he was a smoker for more than 50 years, giving it up finally when he and his wife gave birth to twin daughters, Gracie and Alice. He told Metro: “It was a wonder I wasn’t riddled with cancer in both lungs. It’s a wonder they both didn’t explode.”

Related: Our interview with Ronnie Wood

About the Stones, Wood said: “There’s something magic that happens when all four of us come together. It’s like a momentum none of us can explain. It’s like, bang — an unstoppable force.”

Related: 100s of Classic Rock tour listings

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