LONDON (AFP) - Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood revealed on 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.
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 guitarist 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.
When he received the diagnosis, "to be totally honest, I wasn't surprised".