THE ROLLING STONES' Ronnie Wood has revealed he battled cancer for a second time during lockdown.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun, the 73-year-old guitarist said: "I've had cancer two different ways now. I had lung cancer in 2017, and I had small-cell more recently that I fought in the last lockdown."
Small cell is a disease in which the malignant cells are most often found in the lung. However, it can occasionally arise in other areas such as the prostate, pancreas, and lymph nodes.
Wood confirmed that he was eventually given "the all-clear." He also credited his decade-long sobriety and putting his fate in the hands of "a higher power."
"I'm going through a lot of problems now, but throughout my recovery, you have to let it go," he said. "And when you hand the outcome over to your higher power, that is a magic thing. That brings you back to the [Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous] Serenity Prayer: 'Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.' That's incredible. What will be will be, it's nothing to do with me. All I can do is stay positive in my attitude, be strong and fight it, and the rest is up to my higher power."
When Wood was diagnosed with lung cancer four years ago, he blamed the diagnosis on smoking, stating he smoked "25 to 30 cigarettes a day for 50-odd years." He underwent a five-hour operation to treat a small lung lesion.
"I was bloody lucky, but then I've always had a very strong guardian angel looking out for me," he stated in a 2017 interview. "By rights I shouldn't be here."
Last year, Eagle Rock Entertainment released an in-depth film biography of Wood, "Somebody Up There Likes Me". The documentary traces Wood's 50-year musical history, from THE BIRDS, THE JEFF BECK GROUP, THE FACES (with Rod Stewart), and THE NEW BARBARIANS, to becoming a permanent member of THE ROLLING STONES.
Ronnie described the film as summing up "the essence of survival" in a life he continues to live to the fullest, without regrets. "I wouldn't change anything except I'd do it with my eyes open a bit more," he said. "I was in the hands of destiny all my life…and being in the right place at the right time."