It’s been more than a week since Nick Cannon broke the news to his audience on his eponymous daytime show and the world that his 5-month-old son Zen passed away from a brain tumor. Now Cannon is opening up to People magazine about deciding to focus on his son’s happiness before he transitioned.
Cannon and Scott became aware of their son’s health complications early on when they noticed that his breathing was irregular just days after his birth. By month two he was diagnosed with high-grade gliomas, which are tumors found in both the brain and spinal cord. Doctors put a shunt in Zen’s brain to drain the fluid but that did not stop the tumors from growing.
After declining to have his son go through more treatments, including chemotherapy — which Cannon had to do himself as a treatment for his lupus — he and Zen’s mother, Alyssa Scott, made the decision to make happy memories with their son.
“We were having quality-of-life conversations. 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.”
The parents began planning things to do with their son. “We focused on Disneyland, our favorite place,” the 41-year-old said. “Every month we would celebrate his birthday, just really seeing it as a victory every time he had a milestone that he was still here with us.”
It was around Thanksgiving when Scott and Cannon began to see a major decline in their son’s health. “He was 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.”
The two decided to go watch the sun rise on the beach with their son to create one last memory; on Dec. 5, Zen passed away.
More Stories from Our Partners: