The Rolling Stones’ guitarist Ronnie Wood says he was battling cancer during the pandemic but has now been declared “all-clear.” It was the second time that Wood has been cleared of cancer following a bout with lung cancer in 2017-2018.
He is currently 73 years old and has been married to his wife Sally for the past eight years. They have two four-year-old twins together, Alice and Gracie. Wood mentioned the news in a statement to The Sun this weekend, “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 cancer is typically found in the lungs, but can also spread to areas including the bladder, lymph nodes, pancreas or prostate. Wood did not indicate where his recent cancer was located. However, he previously attributed his lung cancer to smoking “25 to 30 cigarettes a day for 50-odd years” until he quit in 2016, so it wouldn’t surprise people if his small-cell cancer was also located in his lungs.
The lung cancer was completely removed back in 2018, and part of his lung along with it. He states, “There was a week when everything hung in the balance and it could have been curtains.”
He thanks a higher power for his recovery, since religion is one of the things that really resonated with him as he quit drugs and alcohol in 2009 with the help of rehab. Wood explains, “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 continues, “That brings you back to the [Alcoholics Anonymous/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.”
In recent years, Wood has turned to focus not only on recovery, but on painting as well. Painting has been an emotional outlet that helped him keep a strong face as he beat cancer. He began selling prints of one of his works called Affirmation I during the COVID-19 lockdown, with proceeds going towards Eric Clapton’s wife Melia McEnery’s Turn Up For Recovery organization.
The affirmation in the piece is “When I take care of myself, I can achieve anything.” It refers to the importance of quitting drugs/alcohol for oneself instead of just for others. McEnery said publicly to Wood, “I’m grateful to you for creating a powerful message with your gift of painting, they will be part of a positive change in many people’s lives. It’s inspiring to find someone that struggled with addiction who is willing to spread hope to others still suffering…a true blessing.”