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Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood Reveals He Had Surgery for Lung Cancer

INDIO, CA - OCTOBER 14: Musician Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones performs during Desert Trip at the Empire Polo Field on October 14, 2016 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The Rolling Stones‘ Ronnie Wood was diagnosed with lung cancer in May and says he feared for his life before undergoing a five-hour operation to remove part of his lung. Wood, 70, revealed his private cancer battle for the first time in a new interview with the Daily Mail.

“There was a week when everything hung in the balance and it could have been curtains—time to say goodbye,” Wood told the tabloid. “You never know what is going to happen.”

The cancer was discovered during routine physicals the Stones received ahead of their upcoming tour. The fear, Wood said, was that the disease might have spread to his lymph nodes: “If that had happened it would have been all over for me.” Thankfully it had not, and following the successful surgery, Wood says he’s now okay.

“I was prepared for bad news but I also had faith it would be OK,” he said. “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. 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.”

Though the lung cancer diagnosis was scary, Wood says it did not come as a total surprise after 50 years of chain-smoking. He quit cigarettes one week before the birth of his year-old twin daughters in May 2016 and claims he now spends his time parenting, cooking, and indulging in his “last vice,” soda.

The Daily Mail‘s lengthy interview also covers Wood’s past struggles with substance abuse, his relationship with wife Sally Humphreys, and the publication of a new book, Ronnie Wood: Artist, about his second career as a painter. Read the full interview here.