"This is a special show dedicated to my beautiful son, Zen," Nick Cannon said on the Dec. 7 episode of his daytime talk show, The Nick Cannon Show. On Tuesday, the father of seven tearfully announced that his youngest son, five-month-old Zen Scott Cannon, had died of brain cancer after battling hydrocephalus, the buildup of fluid in the brain.
"I've got a lot of kids and Zen's my youngest. It was so exciting [when he was born]," Nick said of his son, who was born on June 23. "We called him Z Chillin'. He was always smiling, always having the most beautiful spirit . . . By the time he was two months old, he was just the cutest little boy. He had these big eyes, and I also noticed he had a nice-sized head. I call it a Cannon head." Concerned about some sinus and breathing problems Zen was exhibiting, Nick and Zen's mother Alyssa Scott took the baby to the doctor, where they were told he had a malignant brain tumor.
"It was a beautiful setting. Not only did we get to see the sunrise, but we got to see the sunset too."
Zen needed immediate surgery and a shunt was placed in the baby's head to help drain some of the fluid. As doctors continued to monitor Zen's condition, Nick and his family spent as much time with him as possible. Around Thanksgiving, Zen's health took a turn for the worse and the fluid began to build more quickly.
"The tumor began to grow a lot faster, and so we knew that the time was . . . " Nick trailed off, taking a minute to compose himself. "This weekend, I made a valid effort to spend the most quality time I could spend with Zen. I got to spend the weekend with him and we woke up on Sunday and I [said], 'I feel like I want to go to the water.' So we got a chance to go to the ocean . . . I wanted to make sure that I'd allowed the sun to rise and [gotten to] hold my son. It was a beautiful setting. Not only did we get to see the sunrise, but we got to see the sunset, too."
Nick went on to express his gratitude for his viewers, God, and his friends and family who have supported him during this grieving period. "I really want to say that I'm so grateful to my entire family for getting together during this time and being so loving and not judgmental of me," he said. "Zen's mom, Alyssa, was the strongest woman I've ever seen [during this time]. We never had an argument, she never got angry [but] was emotional when she needed to be. She was always the best mom and continues to be the best mom possible."
Nick ended the video with an impassioned reminder to express our love for the people we care about and cherish the moments that we have while we are alive. "I know so many people out there have experienced the kind of pain and grief that I'm experiencing right now. We all know it," he said. "This is our time to say, 'You never know what somebody's going through.' Hug your people, hug your family, kiss somebody, tell them you love them. It's the holidays and we're here."
The following day, Nick posted a YouTube video to thank his fans for their support and share his grieving process. "Today I'm a little torn," he said. "I'm a little confused because it's a hurting thing. I'm grieving. I feel guilty on so many levels . . . Of course, everyone knows that I'm not fine, but you guys are making me feel better so thank you."