He explains in a new interview with Extra that during a routine checkup, a chest X-ray led to a CAT scan and then a PET scan, and doctors told him he had a "spot" that could be either benign or malignant.
"On July 17, I had the surgery here at Cedars," King says. "They took it out. It was malignant. They were going to take it out if it was malignant or benign. They tested it. They said, 'You are fine.' It was stage 1." The 83-year-old was back to work within two weeks, but says he's sharing his story so other smokers (he smoked for 30 years) might quit.