Nick Cannon announced on Tuesday that his youngest son, Zen, has died from a brain tumor.
He made the announcement on The Nick Cannon Show Tuesday morning, telling the audience his 5-month-old son passed away after previously suffering from hydrocephalus, in which fluid builds up in the cavities of the brain and increases the size of the ventricles, putting pressure on the brain.
The actor said he took his son on a trip to the beach on Sunday and held Zen for the last time. He died soon after.
Zen was Nick’s seventh child, delivered in June by former flame Alyssa Scott, 28.
He was the fourth of Nick’s children born within the past year and a half, with twins Zillion and Zion born in June, and his daughter, Powerful, born last December.
The seven children are with four different women, including his ex-wife Mariah Carey, ex-girlfriend Brittany Bell, his current partner Abby de la Rosa, and Scott, a model who appeared in one of Cannon’s music videos.
Cannon explained on his show that the issues with Zen began when he was about 2 months old, when he and Zen’s mother noticed his head seemed large. They thought he had developed a sinus issue.
‘I always noticed he had a cough and so I wanted to check it out,’ Cannon said. ‘He had this interesting breathing and by the time he was two months, he had this nice sized head too – a Cannon head.
‘We didn’t think anything of it. But I wanted to take him to the doctor for his sinus and breathing. We thought it would be routine.’
But instead, the baby had to have brain surgery and a shunt put in place to drain the fluid. From there, Cannon said, things just got worse.
‘This weekend, I made a valid effort to spend the most quality time with Zen,’ Cannon told his audience.
‘We woke up on Sunday and went to the ocean with him and Alyssa, and then I had to fly back to New York for the show.
‘I got a call on my way to the airport to head back to Zen.’
Cannon then recounted how he held his son for the last time this weekend, saying: ‘You can’t heal until you feel.’
Hydrocephalus affects one or two of every 1,000 babies born in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Approximately 50 percent of the affected patients die before three years of age and about 80 percent die before reaching adulthood
Cannon said he returned to work so soon after the tragedy because working in show business is all he knows.
‘I prayed for God’s strength, and that’s why I’m here today, because I know he puts the most and heaviest weight on the shoulders of his strongest shoulders,’ Cannon said.
He dubbed Tuesday’s episode a ‘celebration of life’ for Zen.
An unnamed source also told Entertainment Tonight that the talk show was originally supposed to have two tapings on Monday, including a live show.
‘Those were both unexpectedly canceled on Sunday,’ the source said, ‘and a pre-taped episode was aired on Monday instead.’
Cannon’s other children include twins Monroe and Moroccan with his ex-wife Mariah Carey, who gave birth to them on their third wedding anniversary on April 30, 2011.
Monroe received her name from Marilyn Monroe, an inspiration to singer Mariah Carey, while Moroccan, nicknamed ‘Roc,’ got his name from the Moroccan décor in the apartment where Nick proposed to Mariah in 2008.