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Alyssa Scott, Nick Cannon

Nick Cannon


After the untimely passing of his 5-month-old son Zen earlier this month, Nick Cannon is now sharing more intimate details about the young infant’s battle with High-Grade Gliomas–a diverse group of tumors that develop on the brain and spinal cord.

While speaking to PEOPLE, Cannon, who welcomed baby Zen back in June with model Alyssa Scott, said that he grew weary after he noticed his son’s breathing was irregular.

“It sounded like he had fluid in his lungs, like a sinus infection or something,” the 41-year-old explained, however, doctors didn’t believe his symptoms were “too concerning” at the time. Although a few weeks later, the doctors noticed that Zen’s head was beginning to enlarge, and in the days following, the Power 106 radio host and Scott were both struck when health officials delivered Zen’s alarming diagnosis.

“We started asking, ‘Is there a way to prevent this? If not, how long do we have?’ ” Cannon recalled to the outlet. “The conversations quickly turned to, ‘How can we give him the best life for the time that he does have?’ It could be weeks, it could be months, it could be year.”

High-Grade Glioma is a condition that’s incredibly difficult to treat. According to NCBI, children account for approximately “8-12 percent of all primary cases” of the rare condition. Cannon, who just recently debuted his new daytime talk show series The Nick Cannon Show with Fox back in September, revealed that doctors tried to drain some of the excess fluid that was building on Zen’s brain by placing a shunt on his skull, but sadly, the precious infant’s tumors continued to grow.

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When health officials asked Cannon and Scott if they wanted to consider chemotherapy for Zen, the former America’s Got Talent host said they swiftly declined. Cannon, who suffers from Lupus, said he knew firsthand how bad the after-effects of chemotherapy can be from receiving the aggressive treatment for his own condition.

“We were having quality-of-life conversations,” he explained. “We could have had that existence where he would’ve had to live in the hospital, hooked up to machines, for the rest of the time. From someone who’s had to deal with chemotherapy before, I know that pain. To see that happen to a 2-month-old, I didn’t want that. I didn’t want him to suffer.”

Unfortunately, Zen’s health took a startling turn for the worse during Thanksgiving weekend. The star said his son began “struggling” to breathe and “gasping for air.”

“We’d wake up, and he wouldn’t be breathing for maybe five to 10 seconds at a time, and then he’d let out a huge gasp. You could see it frightened him. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced,” he added. Weeks later, on Dec. 5, Zen took his last breath.

The Masked Singer host revealed the heartbreaking news on his daytime talk show on Dec. 7.  Cannon announced that he would be taking some time away to properly grieve the shocking loss of his son. “My heart is shattered. I wish I could have done more, spent more time with him, taken more pictures. I wish I could have hugged him longer,” he tearfully expressed at the time. Scott also released a statement to PEOPLE, telling fans:

“It was a privilege being Zen’s mommy. It’s so beautiful and encouraging to see even complete strangers being touched and moved by Zen’s light. Zen’s spirit and light will shine bright forever.”


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