Former Leeds United star Vinnie Jones has revealed that he has had several small tumours removed since being diagnosed with melanoma – the most potentially serious form of skin cancer. Jones, an integral part of Leeds’ 1990 promotion squad, initially discovered a small lump underneath his eye back in February, but had thought it was simply “a blackhead or a wart”. However, a check-up revealed the seriousness of the situation. Jones at first feared for his life, but swiftly resolved to fight “with everything I’ve got”. Melanoma kills some 1,300 men and 900 women every year, but is treatable if caught early enough.
The Hollywood actor has blamed his outdoor lifestyle for a condition related to over-exposure to the sun. Vinnie has always been an outdoorsman, and moved to Los Angeles after his football days ended, to pursue a film career. He has had a lot of success and has worked with some high-profile stars in films like X-Men and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
Now working for the Melanoma Research Foundation, Jones cites his own case in warning others to take precautions. “Footballers never put on sunblock and they should all be wearing it,” he said. “Kids should all be wearing it every time they play sport.” Vinnie’s wife Tanya has also fought the disease, which she developed a result of drugs she had been taking since having a heart transplant 26 years ago.
Leeds United fans and those who remember Vinnie’s playing days from other clubs he served – Chelsea, Sheffield United and Wimbledon – will join together in sending heart-felt good wishes to a legend of the game who now has a different sort of fight on his hands. Get well soon, Vinnie.