Ronnie Wood has had part of his lung removed after being diagnosed with cancer.
The Rolling Stones' guitarist said doctors had found a cancerous lesion three months ago during a routine check-up ahead of a tour.
The musician, 70, said he thought 'it was time to say goodbye' to his family after being told it would require a lengthy operation and possibly gruelling chemotherapy.
Ahead of the launch of his new book Ronnie Wood: Artist, he told The Mail on Sunday's Event Magazine, Wood: Did I think I'd ever make it to see this? Hell no! Someone up there must like me. And luckily someone down here likes me too.'
"I've had a fight with a touch of lung cancer. There was a week when everything hung in the balance and it could have been curtains - time to say goodbye. You never know what is going to happen.'
Wood, who gave up cigarettes a year ago after the birth of his twins, Gracie and Alice, had previously chain-smoked for 50 years.
Speaking about the moment the doctor told him he had cancer, he said: "He came back with the news that I had this supernova burning away on my left lung.
"And, to be totally honest, I wasn't surprised. I knew I hadn't had a chest X-ray since I went into Cottonwood (a rehab clinic in Tucson, Arizona) in 2002. He asked me what I wanted to do and my answer was simple: "Just get it out of me."
"But then there was a week of tests. They needed to know if it had set up encampments and spread to my lymph nodes. If that had happened it would have been all over for 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.
"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."
Woodsaid he was worried about the side-effects of chemo, mainly because he did not want to lose his hair.
"I wasn't going to lose my hair," he said. "This hair wasn't going anywhere. I said, "No way."
"I'm OK now. But I'm going to have a check-up every three months. They caught it early. People have to get checked. Seriously have to get checked. 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 is now married to 39-year-old actress and producer Sally, his third wife, who gave birth to his two daughters last year.
His new book charts his lengthy career with images of The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart, as well as actors including Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro.
Wood also described how the artist Damian Hirst was largely responsible for him finally leaving drugs and drinking behind after decades of abuse.
'I didn't know Damien back then,' said 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 paparazzi) and got me on a flight back to London and took me to Life Works in Woking.
'I'd done rehab a few times before because it takes a long time to properly get clean. And when I finally came out of Life Works, Damien was there. 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 he just said, "Go on then. Now start paying the rent."
'Ronnie Wood: Artist' is published by Thames & Hudson on August 21, priced £24.95 Top: Mick Voodoo, 1996: created during rehearsals for the Voodoo Lounge tour.