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.
Cannon, 41, said the tumor developed quickly around Thanksgiving, and as he broke down in tears on his show, he told how he spent this past weekend in California to share a few last moments with Zen.
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.
Actor Nick Cannon broke down in tears as he announced on his show Tuesday that his 5-month-old son died of a brain tumor over the weekend
He said that he and Zen’s mother, model Alyssa Scott, went to the beach with their child moments before he died
As he spoke of his son’s passing on Tuesday, Cannon shared some photos of Zen in his last moments, including this one of Cannon kissing Zen on his forehead shortly before he died on Sunday
Cannon, left, dubbed Tuesday’s episode of The Nick Cannon Show a ‘celebration’ of Zen’s short life. He is pictured with his son and former flame, and Zen’s mother, Alyssa Scott in an Instagram post
Cannon said he started to have concerns about his son’s breathing when Zen (pictured) was just two months old
The dangers posed by hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluids on the brain
Hydrocephalus is an abnormal buildup of fluid in the cavities deep within the brain. This excess fluid causes the ventricles to widen, putting pressure on the brain’s tissues.
As the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pushes on the brain it can prevent it from functioning properly and cause brain damage and even death.
It can affect anyone, but is most common in infants and older adults, according to the National Institutes of Health, as children could be born with the disorder or acquire it from injury, stroke or tumors.
Congenital hydrocephalus affects one or two of every 1,000 babies born in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Symptoms in infants may include:
- a rapid increase in head size
- a bulge on the soft spot of the head
- problems sucking or feeding
- eyes that are fixed downward or are not able to turn outward
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.
Zen Scott, Nick Cannon’s seventh child and fourth one born within the past year and a half, was born in June, and started developing symptoms of brain cancer within two months
Zen’s head started to enlarge when he was two months old as fluids built up in his brain – a condition known as hydrocephalus
Zen is Cannon’s only child with model Alyssa Scott (pictured holding Zen), who appeared in one of his music videos
Alyssa Scott posted this photo of her, holding Zen, as she and her children dressed up for Halloween back in October
Cannon also has a son, Golden Sagon, with Brittany Bell who was born on February 21, 2017. The pair welcomed a daughter, Powerful Queen, last December.
Then came twins Zion Mixolydian Cannon and Zillion Heir with his current partner Abby de la Rosa on June 14, nine days before Zen was born on June 23.
Cannon has said he does not subscribe to the idea of monogamy.
In an interview with The Breakfast Club back in August, he called the idea a ‘Eurocentric concept,’ claiming it’s really ‘just to classify property when you think about it.’
‘I have no ownership over this person,’ he said. ‘It’s about what exchange we can create together. So I’ve never really subscribed to that mentality.
‘I don’t want ownership over anybody. I don’t have ownership over any of the mothers. We created a beautiful entity.
‘Those women, all women, are the ones that open themselves up and say “I would like to allow this man into my world. And I will birth this child.”
‘It ain’t my decision,’ he said. ‘I’m following suit.
‘Every women that I deal with or dealt with, they know how I feel,’ he added.
Alyssa Scott appeared in a music video with Nick Cannon before the two had a son
Cannon has also previously talked about his refusal to wear condoms in a 2017 interview with Howard Stern, which resurfaced this past year as he started to have a slew of children.
He said at the time: ‘I might die in the morning, so why wear condoms?’
But the actor/singer changed his tune in October, announced that he was going to try to be celibate until at least 2022.
‘I’m going to try to be celibate until 2022,’ he said on his talk show, according to Parade. ‘We’re going to see if we can make it to the end of the year.
‘Somebody said, “You should go longer. Take your time,”‘ he recounted. ‘We’ll get to the end of the year, then we’ll talk about 2022.’
Nick Cannon, who doesn’t believe in monogamy, fathers seven children with four different women
Nick Cannon has seven children with four different women, including his ex-wife Mariah Carey, ex-girlfriend Brittany Bell, his current partner Abby de la Rosa, and model Alyssa Scott, who appeared in one of his music videos.
He has said he does not believe in monogamy, calling it in an interview with The Breakfast Club back in August a ‘Eurocentric concept,’ and ‘just to classify property when you think about it.’
Cannon claimed it wasn’t his decision for the women to have children with him, and he is just ‘following suit.’
Nick Cannon, left, had twins, Monroe and Moroccan Cannon, with his ex-wife Mariah Carey, right, on April 30, 2011
Cannon, 41, was married to singer Mariah Carey for eight years from 2008 to 2016, and together they had twins, Monroe and Moroccan Scott, born on April 30, 2011 – their third wedding anniversary.
Monroe, their daughter, was named after Marilyn Monroe, an inspiration to singer Carey, and Moroccan, nicknamed ‘Roc,’ was named after the Moroccan décor in the apartment where Nick proposed to Mariah in 2008.
In July, Parade reports, Monroe started her modeling career in a video for OshKosh B’gosh.
Cannon also has a son, Golden Sagon, in the karate outfit, and a daughter, Powerful Queen, with his ex-girlfriend Brittany Bell, left
Cannon also has two children with his ex-girlfriend Brittany Bell, a model and pageant holder.
Their son Golden Sagon was born on February 21, 2017, and had a Karate Kid-themed birthday party last year, and the pair welcomed a daughter, named Powerful Queen, last December.
Abby de la Rosa
Cannon has twins Zion Mixolydian and Zillion Heir with his current girlfriend, DJ Abby de la Rosa, right
Back in April, Cannon and his current girlfriend, DJ Abby de la Rosa, announced they were expecting twins with a series of maternity photos posted to social media.
The twins, Zion Mixolydian and Zillion Heir, were born on June 14, 2021.
They shared the news to Instagram, with a picture of Abby in the hospital bed cradling her two baby boys.
His seventh son, Zen Scott, left, was born to model Alyssa Scott, right, on June 23, 2021. He died on December 5 at just five months old
Just a little over a week after the twins were born, model Alyssa Scott gave birth to Cannon’s seventh child, Zen Scott.
There had been rumors circulating online after Scott became pregnant that Cannon was once again the father, and on Father’s Day, he confirmed the news, appearing shirtless in an Instagram story on Scott’s page.
‘Celebrating you today,’ she wrote in the Instagram story.
Zen died on December 5 of brain cancer at only five months old.