Nick Cannon announced during today’s broadcast of his eponymous talk show that his youngest son, 5-month-old Zen Scott Cannon, passed away sometime after sunset on Sunday, Dec. 5th.
The host and actor revealed that he thought Zen had a sinus issue because the baby would cough. He and the boy’s mother, Alyssa Scott, thought Zen might have fluid in his lungs and the doctors would tell them that he’d eventually cough it up, explained Cannon.
He also said that he had noticed the baby, who was born June 23rd of this year, had a large head, but he didn’t think anything of it initially.
Zen, whom the family loving called "Zen Chilling," had what Cannon called a “nice sized head. I called it a ‘Cannon head.’ Like all my kids got really nice round heads, like Rock and Roe, Golden,” said Cannon with a laugh to his audience and viewers at home. “Everybody has like, even me, we’re like Cabbage Patch Kid-type of heads. So we didn’t think anything about it. He had a normal ‘Cannon head.’”
But Cannon wanted to take Zen to the doctor to get his breathing and sinuses checked out. They thought it would be a routine process. However, the medical professionals said Zen’s sinuses were fine, but they learned he had another condition, a form of brain cancer. Cannon said the collection of fluid inside his head caused it to increase in size. They also learned he had a malignant brain tumor. Zen underwent immediate brain surgery, which included inserting a shunt into the baby’s head to allow the fluid to drain.
“We were hoping for the best,” said Cannon. He said Zen was doing well, playing with all his brothers and sisters, until Thanksgiving when the the doctors became concerned because the tumor began to grow a lot faster.
Fighting back tears, Cannon said, “So this weekend, I made a valiant effort to spend the most quality time I could spend with Zen. And we woke up on Sunday — I got to spend the weekend with him, spend the night with him — and we woke up on Sunday and I was just like, ‘I feel like I want to go to the water and be close to the ocean.’ And he kind of got a chance to go to the ocean. And usually on Sundays, I kind of handle everything I need to handle with the family and I fly back to New York, you know, I rush back so I can be here for you all. But I wanted to make sure I had allowed the sun to rise and [I] hold my son.”
Crying, Cannon said, “Holding my son for the last time … But it was still, it was a beautiful setting. And even to spend that whole day because, even as I was holding him, I was still preparing my day as it normally went to come back and come here and still I didn’t know what it was going to be. But even by the time I got in the car and was heading to the airport, I had to turn around. I turned around and not only did we get to see the sunrise, but we got to see the sun set too. And I didn’t know how I was going to handle today. I didn’t know how, but I just really wanted to grieve with my family (gesturing to the audience). People who love you.”
Cannon said he leaned on his faith to get through this extremely devastating time, “I have so much faith in the Lord. I have so much faith in God … I prayed for the miracle of God’s strength and that’s why I’m here with you guys today because I know He puts the most and heaviest weight on the shoulders of his strongest soldiers. So I’m here to show that I can fight through this. I’m feeling it. I’m vulnerable. I’m open. But I’m going to make it through. This is a special show dedicated to my beautiful son Zen!”
Cannon thanked the doctors at the Children’s Hospital Orange County for caring for Zen and educating him and Scott every step of the way.
He said he was also grateful for his family and especially Zen’s mother, “And I really want to say that I’m so grateful to my entire family for coming together during this time. And being so loving and not judgmental of me or any of those things.”
“I really have to say Zen’s mom, Alyssa,” he continued. “Alyssa was just like the strongest woman I’ve ever seen because she never had an argument, never was angry, you know, was emotional when she needed to be, but was always the best mom and continues to be the best mom possible. So I’ve got to say thank you to my entire family, but, specifically, to Alyssa.”
He said he didn’t want there to be any “pageantry” in announcing Zen’s passing, but he wanted to acknowledge his son because he was taught that you “grow through what you go through and you keep pushing.”
Before concluding his announcement, Cannon revealed that his therapist, Dr. Laura Berman, would join him on the show because she’s dealt with a similar situation as a parent and he knows others have felt the same pain and grief that he is experiencing right now.
Cannon had a reminder to his viewers in closing, “You never know what someone is going through. Hug your people. Hug your family. Kiss somebody. Tell them you love them. It’s the holidays and we’re here.”