Multi-hyphenate Nick Cannon took a moment at the top of his eponymous syndicated talk show for a very personal and serious announcement: His five-month-old son Zen died yesterday.
Cannon started the episode by showing the studio audience a photo of his youngest son and telling viewers the infant was born in June. The host then choked up and struggled to continue.
“I actually haven’t shared this with anybody, not even the crew that came in. I had a tough, very tough weekend.”
Zen was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his head, said Cannon, and had an operation to relieve pressure on his brain. Cannon said his son took a turn for the worse at Thanksgiving.
“It was cancer in the brain, and the tumor began to grow a lot faster,” he said. Cannon was able to be with his son this weekend and on Monday, he said with a smile. They were able to “watch the sun rise” together on Monday.
The host was on his way to the airport later Monday to fly back to New York to tape Nick Cannon when he decided he had to turn around.
“I turned around and, not only did we get to see the sun rise, we got to see the sun set, too.” The implication was that Zen passed away Monday night.
Cannon said he returned to the set Tuesday “to show that I can fight through this.”
He also announced: “This is a special show dedicated to my son, Zen.”
The heart-wrenching monologue recalled late night host Jimmy Kimmel’s own raw retelling of how, at 3 days old, during what Kimmel tearfully described as the “longest three hours of my life,” his son Billy had open heart surgery.
Kimmel’s son recovered, but he used the opportunity to blast then-President Donald Trump who, he said, had “proposed a $6 billion cut in funding to the National Institute of Health…[and] more than 40% of the people who would have been affected by those cuts to the National Institutes of Health are children.” The proposal was squashed in Congress.
Watch Cannon’s emotional announcement below.