Nick Cannon Says ‘My Heart Is Shattered’ After Death of Son Zen
Nick Cannon is opening up to People about the unimaginable loss of his son Zen at just 5 months old.
Zen, his son with Alyssa Scott, was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 2 months, and died December 5.
Nick explained that he and Alyssa were concerned about Zen’s breathing from the beginning. "It sounded like he had fluid in his lungs, like a sinus infection or something," Cannon said. "[The doctors] didn't think it to be anything too concerning." Just weeks later, however, the doctor felt Zen’s head was "growing a little too quickly."
Zen was soon diagnosed with a rare brain cancer called high-grade glioma. Dr. Joffre E. Olaya, who treated Zen, told the magazine, "These tumors can grow and spread quickly," adding, "They are very difficult to treat."
A shunt was used to drain fluid from Zen’s skull, but his tumors continued to grow.
Nick said, "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."
He continued, "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."
They focused on spending time at their favorite place, Disneyland, and celebrated Zen’s birthday each month “seeing it as a victory every time he had a milestone that he was still here with us."
Zen’s health took a turn around Thanksgiving. "You could tell he was struggling," Cannon shared. "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."
Cannon and Scott made the decision to spend a peaceful day with their son at the beach. "I was like, 'We have to watch the sun rise and just be there with him one last time.’ It was beautiful."
Then, on December 5, he passed away. "I see it as a blessing that I got to be there," Cannon said. "Alyssa says, 'I think he was just waiting for you.'”
Cannon shared, "We had a short time with a true angel," saying, “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 describes the little one as “the most loving baby,” adding, "I look at being his father as a great privilege."
Alyssa told the magazine in a statement, "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."
Cannon shared the news of Zen’s death during a taping of “The Nick Cannon Show” on December 7. Watch the video above.
Just before Zen's arrival in June, Cannon and DJ Abby De La Rosa welcomed twins Zillion and Zion, and he has daughter Powerful, who turns 1 on December 28, with Brittany Bell. Bell is also the mother of their 4-year-old, Golden.
Nick first became a dad with then-wife Mariah Carey, with whom he welcomed twins Monroe and Moroccan, now 10.
For more, pick up the latest issue of People on newsstands Friday.