Following the devastating loss of his young son, Nick Cannon is opening up about finding strength in the midst of grief.
A little more than a week after Cannon announced his 5-month-old son Zen, whose mom is model Alyssa Scott, died from brain cancer, the talk-show host discussed the tragedy in a recent interview with People.
Cannon said that he and Scott began to worry about their newborn days after his arrival in late June because Zen's breathing patterns seemed abnormal. Just a few weeks later, doctors determined it was something more serious. At just 2 months old, Zen was diagnosed with a high-grade glioma, which is a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer.
"We started asking, 'Is there a way to prevent this?," Cannon recalled to People. "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."
"We were having quality-of-life conversations," he continued. "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."
Cannon, who has been open about his own health battle after being diagnosed with lupus in 2012, and has undergone chemotherapy treatments himself, added, "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." After discussing possible treatments, Cannon noted that he and Scott decided to keep Zen "as happy as he could possibly be" every day following his diagnosis, which included a trip to Disneyland. But, during Thanksgiving weekend, things took a tragic turn.
"He was gasping for air," Cannon told the outlet. "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." On Dec. 5, he and Scott decided to spend their last day with their son on the beach, adding, "I was like, 'We have to watch the sun rise and just be there with him one last time. It was beautiful."
On Dec. 7, the host announced the heartbreaking news of his son's passing at the start of The Nick Cannon Show. "This is a beautiful show dedicated to my son," he told the audience. "You never know what someone is going through. Hug your family. Kiss somebody. Tell them you love them." Three days later, Cannon unveiled a new tattoo dedicated to his late "angel."
In the days following his passing, Zen's mom also shared a moving message in her son's memory.
"Oh, my sweet Zen," Scott captioned an Instagram post of her son on Dec. 8. "The soreness I felt in my arm from holding you is slowly fading away, adding, "When I close a door too loudly, I hold my breath and wince knowing a soft cry will shortly follow. It doesn't come. The silence is deafening."