A devastated Nick Cannon announced Tuesday that he lost his infant son Zen to brain cancer over the weekend. He was five months old.
Zen, born June 23, was the youngest of Cannon’s seven children. On his eponymous daytime talk show, the Masked Singer host explained that Zen had been diagnosed with a condition called hydrocephalus — which, per the Mayo Clinic, is “the buildup of fluid in the cavities deep within the brain” — before it was eventually discovered that he had a malignant tumor which required immediate surgery. A shunt was inserted in his head — “a tube that would go inside and drain all the fluid,” Cannon explained — but it was only a temporary fix.
On Thanksgiving, Zen took a turn for the worst. “The process sped up,” Cannon recalled. “The tumor began to grow a lot faster, and we knew that time was—”
Cannon stopped talking and began crying.
“This weekend, I made an effort to spend the most quality time I could spend with Zen,” a tearful Cannon continued. “We woke up on Sunday… and we got a chance to go to the ocean. Usually on Sundays, I handle everything I need to handle with the family, then fly back to New York,” where he films his syndicated talk show before a live studio audience. “But I wanted to make sure that I had allowed the sun to rise and hold my son… hold my son for the last time.”
Cannon eventually got in the car to go to the airport, but ultimately returned home to be with Zen. “I turned around, and not only did we get to see the sun rise, we got to see the sun set, too,” he said.
Explaining the difficult decision to resume production on Tuesday, Cannon said, “I always talk about how ‘you don’t go through it, you grow through it. You keep pushing.’ And I have so much faith in the lord, I have so much faith in God. People will often tell me I should pray for miracles, and I did pray for the miracle — the miracle of God’s strength — and that is why I am here with you guys today. Because I know he puts the most and heaviest weight on the shoulders of his strongest soldiers, so I am here to show that I can fight through this. I’m feeling it, I’m vulnerable, I’m open, but I am going to make it through, and this is a special show dedicated to my beautiful son, Zen.”
Cannon gave special thanks to the doctors and nurses at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and referred to Zen’s mother, Alyssa Scott, as “the strongest woman I’ve ever seen.” Lastly, Cannon asked his audience to look out for the people in their lives they care for most.
“I know so many people out there have experienced the kind of pain and grief that I am experiencing right now,” he said. “You never know what somebody is going through, so hug your people, hug you family, kiss somebody, tell them you love them.”
Watch the emotional video above.