Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood has revealed he was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year.
During a routine health check, his doctor asked if he could also check his heart, lungs and blood – and discovered what Wood describes as “a supernova burning away on my left lung… He asked me what I wanted to do and my answer was simple: ‘Just get it out of me.'” The cancer hadn’t spread to his lymph nodes, meaning that after a five-hour operation, Wood is healthy for now.
Wood, who smoked for 50 years before giving up when his wife gave birth to twin daughters, told the Mail on Sunday that he hadn’t considered chemo – but not because he didn’t think it would work. “It’s more I wasn’t going to lose my hair. This hair wasn’t going anywhere. I said, ‘No way.’ And I just kept the faith it would be all right.” He had to wait for a week before receiving his test results: “There was a week when everything hung in the balance and it could have been curtains, time to say goodbye.”
Wood warned: “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.”
The Rolling Stones are going on tour in September, with 14 gigs across Europe – though none in the UK thanks to a “lack of available venues because of sporting fixtures”.