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Nick Cannon details decision to pass on chemo treatment for late infant son's brain cancer: 'I know that pain'

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Actor and television host Nick Cannon has opened up on the untimely death of his infant son, Zen, who passed away on Dec. 5 after a brain cancer diagnosis.

Cannon shared his late son with model Alyssa Scott.

What are the details?

In an interview with People, Cannon recalled the moment he learned of his 5-month-old son's diagnosis with a rare brain cancer.

Days after the child's birth, Cannon and Scott became concerned when it sounded like their newborn son's breathing patterns seemed erratic.

"It sounded like he had fluid in his lungs, like a sinus infection or something," Cannon recalled. "[The doctors] didn't think it to be anything too concerning."

Several weeks later, the couple and the child's doctor noticed that the child's head seemed to be "growing a little too quickly."

Soon after, doctors diagnosed the child with a high-grade glioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer made up of fast-growing tumors that grow along the brain and spinal cord.

In an effort to alleviate pressure in the child's head, doctors placed a shunt in his skull.

"We started asking, 'Is there a way to prevent this? If not, how long do we have?'" Cannon said of the developments. "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 to treat lupus — and his wife ultimately decided against chemotherapy for their infant son in order to spare him more undue suffering.

"We were having quality-of-life conversations," he said. "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."

Instead, the family decided to let the child live as happily as possible.

"We focused on Disneyland, our favorite place," Cannon told the outlet. "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."

Weeks later, Zen took a turn for the worse and his breathing became more and more strained.

"You could tell he was struggling," Cannon said. "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."

The child passed away on Dec. 5 with his family by his side.

"We had a short time with a true angel," Cannon said. "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."

Scott added, "It was a privilege being Zen's mommy. It's so beautiful and encouraging to see even complete strangers being touched and moved by Zen's light. Zen's spirit and light will shine bright forever."

Nick Cannon on Losing His 5-Month-Old Son Zen to Cancer: “My Heart Is Shattered” | PEOPLE www.youtube.com

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