Nick Cannon Opens Up About Why He’s Sharing His Grief Over Loss of Son

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Bruce Glikas/WireImage)

Nick Cannon said he’s taking life “five minutes at a time” following the death of his 5-month-old son Zen who died earlier this month. The Masked Singer host appeared on the TODAY show Thursday to explain how he is coping with such a tragic loss.

The father of seven announced on his talk show that his son had died of a malignant brain tumor. Cannon fought back tears as he walked the audience through his final day with Zen. He and the boy’s mom, Alyssa Scott, held him as the sun came up over the ocean. Since then, he said, his “heart is shattered.”

“I’m taking it as my therapist says, five minutes at a time,” Nick Cannon told Hoda Kotb. “I’m optimistic in finding the purpose through all of the pain, so I’m attempting to smile, I’m attempting to be the high-frequency individual that I’ve set out to be, but along the way, there’s definitely some curves in the journey, so I’m taking it five minutes at a time.”

Cannon said on The Nick Cannon Show that they first realized something was wrong a few months ago. He thought his boy had a sinus infection. But a visit to the pediatrician showed it was far worse. He had high-grade gliomas, a rare form of cancer that attacks the brain and spine of children. Doctors rushed the boy into surgery to deal with the fluid build-up in his brain. But after a few weeks, doctors said that the tumor was still growing faster than they’d hoped.

Nick Cannon Decided to Focus on Son’s Quality Of Life

Nick Cannon said he and Alyssa Scott ultimately decided to not put Zen through intensive chemotherapy. He wanted to maximize the quality of life his son had left, rather than put him through the pain of cancer treatment. Doctors weren’t sure how long Zen would survive. It could be days or years, Cannon said.

“We were having quality-of-life conversations,” he told PEOPLE. “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 did what they could to maximize their time with him like taking trips to Disneyland.

“He was the most loving baby,” Cannon said. “I look at being his father as a great privilege.”

Zen died on Dec. 5.

“We had a short time with a true angel,” Cannon told the magazine. “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.”