On December 5, 2021, Cannon revealed that his son had died.
Nick Cannon and Alyssa Scott took their son Zen to the doctor just a day after he was born after noticing his breathing was irregular. At 2 months old, the baby was diagnosed with high-grade glioma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer, according to PEOPLE.
Despite doctors placing a shunt in his head to drain out the excess liquid, his head began to swell, adds NBC News.
"We started asking, 'Is there a way to prevent this? If not, how long do we have?'" recalls Cannon. Soon it turned into a conversation where they decided to figure out a way that wouldn't make him suffer. "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."
Cannon—who has undergone chemotherapy himself for the autoimmune disease lupus—discussed with Zen's doctor in depth about all the possibilities before he finally made the difficult decision to not pursue any further invasive procedures and focus on keeping their son "as happy as he could possibly be".
"We were having quality-of-life conversations," he says. "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."
After making such an emotionally draining decision, Cannon, 41, and Scott, 28, a model and philanthropist, were focused on making the best of the few days that their precious child had left.
"We focused on Disneyland, our favorite place," explains Cannon. "Every month we would celebrate his birthday, just really seeing it as a victory every time he had a milestone that he was still here with us."
But, by Thanksgiving, the little one was struggling. "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," said Cannon.
Knowing he didn't have much time left, the parents decided to take him to the beach for one final day of peace and quiet. "I was like, 'We have to watch the sun rise and just be there with him one last time,' " he says. "It was beautiful."
On December 5, 2021, Cannon revealed that his son had died. He revealed the tragic news on his daytime talk show, Nick Cannon, on December 7. "We had a short time with a true angel," says Cannon. "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."
The grieving parents are now trying to find joy in the memories he's left behind from his short stay on earth. "He was the most loving baby," says Cannon. "I look at being his father as a great privilege."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | photo by Leon Bennett