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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood reveals cancer scare

The guitarist gave up smoking shortly before the birth in May last year of his twin girls with wife Sally

Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones reveals he had a cancer scare earlier in the year. Neville Hopwood / Getty Images
Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones reveals he had a cancer scare earlier in the year. Neville Hopwood / Getty Images

Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood revealed Sunday that he underwent emergency surgery earlier this year after a cancerous lesion was found on his lung.

"I've had a fight with a touch of lung cancer," the 70-year-old told the Mail on Sunday's Event magazine.

"There was a week when everything hung in the balance and it could have been curtains — time to say goodbye."

Wood described going for a check-up with the doctor in May, a routine event before the band went on tour.

"And then he came back with the news that I had this supernova burning away on my left lung," he said.

He spent a week waiting for tests to see if the cancer had spread, determined that he would not have chemotherapy for fear of going bald.

"This hair wasn't going anywhere," he said.

When the news came in that it had not spread, he had emergency surgery to remove part of his lung.

"I'm OK now. But I'm going to have a check-up every three months. They caught it early," he said.

He added: "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."

Wood gave up smoking shortly before the birth in May last year of his twin girls with wife Sally, and no longer drinks alcohol or takes drugs.

But for decades he lived a rock'n'roll lifestyle, along with fellow Stones hellraiser Keith Richards.

"I had this thought at the back of my mind after I gave up smoking a year ago: '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?'," he told the paper.

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When he received the diagnosis, "to be totally honest, I wasn't surprised".

Wood, who joined the Stones in 1975, is the youngest member of the iconic four-piece British rock band.

He gave the interview to mark a new book of his paintings and sketches, entitled Ronnie Wood: Artist.

*AFP