Ronnie Wood

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Ronnie Wood was diagnosed with "a touch of lung cancer" three months ago. "There was a week when everything hung in the balance and it could have been curtains—time to say goodbye," he told The Daily Mail over the weekend. "You never know what is going to happen."

During a routine physical, the Rolling Stone guitarist's doctor asked if he could also check out his blood, heart and lungs—and discovered what Wood described as "a supernova burning away on my left lung." Wood—a lifelong smoker until he quit last spring—"wasn't surprised."

"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?'" said Wood, who has been in rehab eight times over the years. When Dr. Richard Dawood asked Wood how he wanted to proceed, he answered, "Just get it out of 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," the 70-year-old rock 'n' roll legend remembered. "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."

Furthermore, Wood said, "This hair wasn't going anywhere. I said, 'No way.'"

Thankfully, the cancer hadn't spread to his lymph nodes, so he underwent a five-hour operation to remove part of his lung. "I'm OK now. But I'm going to have a check-up every three months," said Wood, who has twin girls with wife Sally Humphreys, 39. "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."

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