Fans of the band The Rolling Stones are in shock this week after rocker Ronnie Wood revealed that he secretly battled cancer for a second time during the COVID-19 lockdown this past year.
Wood, who thought he was going to die of lung cancer during his first battle back in 2017, told The Sun that he was diagnosed with rare and aggressive small-cell cancer last year.
“I’ve had cancer two different ways now,” said Wood, 73. “I came through with the all-clear.”
Wood did not elaborate any further on what specific treatment he received. Small-cell cancer typically arises in the lung but can also be found in other areas like the prostate, pancreas, bladder or lymph nodes. Experts say that it has previously been linked to smoking, and Wood has previously said that he smoked “25 to 30 cigarettes a day for 50-odd years” before quitting the habit in 2016.
In a 2019 documentary, Wood recalled, “They went, ‘Your lungs now are like you’d never smoked’ and I went, ‘How is that for a get out of jail free card?’”
Wood has been to rehab eight times in the past, but despite all of the difficulties of the past year, he has not relapsed at all.
“I’m going through a lot of problems now, but throughout my recovery, you have to let it go. And when you hand the outcome over to your higher power, that is a magic thing,” Wood said. “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,” he added.
Wood also credited the meditative power of his love for painting for helping him to stay on the wagon and positive this past year.
“Art therapy was self-imposed in a way, especially in lockdown. The art has got me through it — to express and get lost,” he said.
Even so, Wood says that he and the rest of the Stones are “ready to go” once they can start playing shows again after pandemic restrictions are lifted around the globe.
“The music is still throbbing away,” he said.