The Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood has been carrying a secret with his this year, but has now revealed the cancer diagnosis and treatment that has overshadowed the last year of his life.
Having been a lifelong smoker, Wood reveals in a new interview with the Mail that he quit immediately before the birth of his twins in May 2016, only to be diagnosed with a “touch of lung cancer” at a check-up soon afterwards.
With the band about to head on tour, doctors asked Wood if he’d like a more extensive check-up, and he agreed – a move that possibly saved his life, he reveals.
“I said go for it,” he told the Mail. “And then he 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… He asked me what I wanted to do and my answer was simple, ‘Just get it out of me.'”
“They needed to know if it had set up encampments and spread to my lymph nodes,” he adds, revealing just how close his brush with death actually was. “If that had happened it would have been all over for me.”
“I was prepared for bad news but I also had faith it would be OK,” he continued. “Apart from the doctors, we didn’t tell anyone because we didn’t want to put anyone else through the hell we were going through. But I made up my mind that if it had spread, I wasn’t going to go through chemo, I wasn’t going to use that bayonet in my body.”
“There was a week when everything hung in the balance and it could have been curtains, time to say goodbye.”
The five-hour operation was successful, thankfully, and Wood’s curtain call has been postponed, although doctors will be keeping a very close eye on him from here on out.
“I’m OK now, but I’m going to have a check-up every three months,” he explains. “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.”
Ronnie will now be focusing on keeping in good health and putting together the band’s 24th album, which Keith Richards said last month the band would be starting on “shortly”.
Ronnie Wood plays with The Rolling Stones in 2016 following his cancer diagnosis