Nick Cannon is still honoring his son.
The television personality first revealed the news of his 5-month-old’s passing on his show last week. Zen, his only child with Alyssa Scott, was the youngest of Nick’s seven children. He passed away on December 5 after being diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer.
Related: Nick Gets Angel Tattoo To Honor His Late Son Zen
Speaking with People in an interview published on Wednesday, the Masked Singer host shared more details about Zen’s life and tragic death. He reiterated that the parents first noticed something off about their “super calm” baby when they noticed his breaking “sounded like he had fluid in his lungs, like a sinus infection or something.” But at first, his doctors “didn’t think it to be anything too concerning.”
A few weeks after he was born, though, the doctors noted that the baby’s head was “growing a little too quickly.” He was eventually diagnosed with a high-grade glioma, a tumor that “can grow and spread quickly” and is “very difficult to treat,” according to Zen’s pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Joffre E. Olaya.
“We started asking, ‘Is there a way to prevent this? If not, how long do we have?’ 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 years.”
The comedian, who himself underwent chemotherapy for lupus, shared that they decided to forego more invasive procedures after Zen’s initial brain surgery didn’t correct the issue. He explained:
“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.”
Instead, they decided to keep the baby “as happy as he could possibly be,” frequently taking him to their “favorite place,” Disneyland:
“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.”
Sadly, Zen’s condition worsened over Thanksgiving. His father said:
“You could tell he was struggling. 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. You could see it frightened him. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced.”
As the 41-year-old detailed on his show, the parents spent a beautiful last day with Zen at the beach, watching the sun rise and set together. Eventually, they were there with their son when he took his last breath. Nick reflected:
“I see it as a blessing that I got to be there. Alyssa says, ‘I think he was just waiting for you.’ ”
“We had a short time with a true angel. 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 was the most loving baby. I look at being his father as a great privilege.”
Alyssa also gave a statement to People, agreeing:
“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.”
So beautiful. Our hearts go out to Nick and Alyssa during this time. We hope Zen’s memory continues to bring comfort and joy.
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