Ronnie Wood Cancer Scare: Could’ve Been Curtains

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Ronnie Wood holds a drawing from his 1965 diary (Photo from the Genesis Publications website)

When the Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood underwent what was described as “successful keyhole surgery to remove a small lung lesion” last spring, most fans assumed that the guitarist’s health troubles were minor. As it turns out, Wood had been diagnosed with lung cancer, but had chosen not to reveal his condition at that time.

According to a new interview Wood gave to the U.K.’s Mail on Sunday, the 70-year-old learned of the cancer while undergoing a routine medical examination. “I’ve had a fight with a touch of lung cancer,” Wood told the Mail. “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.”

Related: Our interview with Ronnie Wood

Wood reports that the doctor “asked me what I wanted to do and my answer was simple: ‘Just get it out of me.’” Wood added that he and his wife, Sally Humphreys, decided not to tell anyone else about the scare because they “didn’t want to put anyone else through the hell we were going through.”

Ronnie Wood tweeted about his bout with cancer

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. But the rocker also said that he made a decision not to go through the chemotherapy process: “I wasn’t going to use that bayonet in my body,” he said, although he confided that the main reason he decided to forego the treatment was more cosmetic than medical. “It’s more I wasn’t going to lose my hair,” he told the interviewer. “This hair wasn’t going anywhere! I said, ‘No way.’ And I just kept the faith it would be all right.”

Fortunately for Wood, the disease did not spread and surgeons were able to remove the existing cancer. “I was bloody lucky, but then I’ve always had a very strong guardian angel looking out for me,” he said. “By rights I shouldn’t be here.”


Watch Ronnie Wood sing John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” in 2000

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