Rolling Stone re­vived

The Week Middle East - - News -

Ron­nie Wood is count­ing his bless­ings. “I’ve had a fight with a touch of lung cancer,” he told Louise Gan­non in The Mail on Sun­day. “There was a week when ev­ery­thing hung in the bal­ance and it could have been cur­tains.” The Rolling Stone – who was a smoker for half a cen­tury, be­fore giv­ing up last year – re­cently had a cancer re­moved from his lung. Mer­ci­fully, it hasn’t spread. “I was bloody lucky, but then, I’ve al­ways had a guardian an­gel look­ing out for me. By rights I shouldn’t be here.”

Un­til he met his third wife, Sally Humphreys, Wood’s hell­rais­ing was leg­endary. At one point, in 2008, he was so blitzed that his fam­ily de­spaired of ever get­ting him straight. But then some­one had the bright idea of ask­ing the artist Damien Hirst – him­self no stranger to ex­cess – to help. “I didn’t know Damien back then,” says Wood. “I was liv­ing in Ire­land in a mad co­coon and Damien just came over, took charge, put me in the back of a bread van [to avoid the pa­parazzi], got me on a flight back to Lon­don.” Hirst booked Wood into re­hab, and then, once he was clean, came back to col­lect him. “He took me to this house that he’d stacked full of can­vases, paints, brushes, easels, crayons – enough to fur­nish a whole art school – and said, ‘Go on then, start pay­ing the rent.’” Wood has since gone on to have a sec­ond ca­reer as an artist – and he and Hirst are now firm friends. “He did it be­cause he cares. He hates waste. He didn’t want me to go to waste.”

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