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Ronnie Wood Speaks About His Lung Cancer Battle: ‘It Could Have Been Curtains’

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Back in May, we learned that Ron Wood had a piece of his lung removed after a cancerous lesion was discovered. In a new interview, the Rolling Stones guitarist reveals that, although the cancer was detected early and he requires no further treatment, he was nonetheless worried that he might not have survived.

“There was a week when everything hung in the balance and it could have been curtains – time to say goodbye,” he told Event. “You never know what is going to happen.”

The lesion was discovered during a mandatory physical in preparation for the Stones’ European tour, which begins next month. What followed was “a week of tests. They needed to know if it had set up encampments and spread to my lymph nodes. 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. Apart from the doctors, we didn’t tell anyone because we didn’t want to put anyone else though 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.”

The main reason why he didn’t want to go through chemotherapy? “I wasn’t going to lose my hair,” he said. “This hair wasn’t going anywhere.”

Wood added that, although the news was scary, he wasn’t surprised that it was discovered, considering the 70-year-old hadn’t had a chest X-ray since a 2002 stint in rehab and decades of cigarettes, which he quit a little over a year ago, shortly before the births of his twin daughters.

“I had this thought at the back of my mind after I gave up smoking a year ago,” he continued. “‘How can I have got through 50 years of chain-smoking – and all the rest of my bad habits – without something going on in there?’”

Fortunately, the surgery was a success, and all that’s required of him is that he has check-ups every three months. He credited his wife of five years, Sally Humphreys, for helping him get through the scare and keeping him clean.

“Did I think I’d ever make it to see this?,” he said. “Hell no! Someone up there must like me. And luckily someone down here likes me too.”

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