Nick Cannon is speaking up about the months he and Alyssa Scott experienced between Zen’s cancer diagnosis and death. The Masked Singer host, 42, spoke out about how they found their baby boy had brain cancer on an episode of Paramount+’s The Checkup with Dr. David Agus.
“He was healthy, active, always smiling,” Cannon said of his baby boy’s early days, until around two months old, he noticed the infant’s “interesting” breathing patterns. “Being a father of multiple kids, it’s always the biggest guilt on me is that I don’t get to spend enough time with all my children, one ’cause I’m constantly working and two because I’m just spread thin.”
“We [also]noticed his head was a little larger, [but]all my kids have big heads. I was a big-headed baby,” Cannon added. Suspecting Zen of having asthma, his parents took him to the doctor, who was instantly concerned about the size of the baby’s head, which was the “first sign something was occurring.”
“They did a lot of tests. They didn’t let him leave the hospital,” he recalled. “And so you could imagine you think you’re taking your son in to get a checkup for — at the worst, I was thinking asthma, you know? And to know that he gets diagnosed with brain cancer, that was a shock.”
He requested physicians to “be upfront” with him so he could prepare himself and shield Scott from what was to come, stating that doctors “kind of laid it out for me.” Zen has high-grade glioma, a rare and severe kind of brain cancer. Cannon and Scott were given the choice of chemotherapy treatment.
“When we first went to the hospital, just to decrease his head from rapidly continuing to grow, there were a couple of procedures we were all for,” he said, explaining they used a shunt to drain fluid from Zen’s brain. “That, to me, made logical sense. There was less pain in him and the procedure was quick. It was all about the quality of life,” he noted.
“From that point, they pretty much told me that best case scenario, your son could live to 3 or 4 years old. So instantly when I heard that, I thought the quality of life. I wanted him to have the best existence he could have.” “Seeing your son hooked up to all of those machines — and he had to go for a shunt two or three times, and that was heartbreaking every time — even in that short amount of time, I couldn’t imagine him having to go through chemo.”
Cannon experienced a form of chemo himself as a treatment for his lupus and “knew what that did to me.” “I knew how as a full grown man, that process … My hair was falling out,” he said. “I wouldn’t even call it pain; it just sucked everything out of you. I couldn’t imagine that on a newborn and what that would do.”
When it came to chemo, Cannon asked whether it would prolong Zen’s life or lessen his pain, to which they replied, “not really,” due to the tumor’s position. “He would have never gone home,” Cannon said, explaining he and Scott ultimately “went to the space of ‘we want to enjoy him and we want him to enjoy [us].'”
The last days were “tough” for the father, who credited Scott for “her strength, her resilience.” “I definitely couldn’t have done it without her. The fact that she was the one, from every aspect she handled it,” he acknowledged. “We had some beautiful moments. We had the opportunity, we knew the transition was coming. It happened a lot faster than we thought, but even that last weekend I knew, ‘this is probably going to be the last weekend.'”
Cannon continued, “Luckily we did everything from the sunrise, going to the beach, the sunset, said some beautiful prayers as a family, and really came together as a family in a very beautiful way. I’m grateful for that, but it was definitely tough. To see your child there, suffering at a point and watching things shut down, it was pretty intense.”
He is also dad to daughter Beautiful Zeppelin, 3 weeks, and twins Zion and Zillion, 17 months, with Abby De La Rosa, as well as 11-year-old twins Monroe and Moroccan with ex-wife Mariah Carey. He also has a 5-month-old son, Legendary Love, with model Bre Tiesi and a 5-month-old daughter, Onyx Ice Cole, with former Price Is Right model LaNisha Cole.