Nick Cannon dresses as Santa Claus to surprise children’s hospital in honor of son who died of cancer

Nick Cannon dressed as Santa Claus at an Orange County, Calif., children’s hospital to spread Christmas joy to sick kids in honor of his son Zen, who died of cancer two years ago.

“Zens’s Light shinning [sic] bright for the holidays!!,” the “Wild ‘N Out” host wrote via Instagram Friday alongside a video of his hospital visit.

“Thank you to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County and everyone who made the day so loving, warm and memorable.🙏🏾❤️”

In the clip, Cannon wore full Santa gear as he read books and handed gifts to hospitalized children.

The “Masked Singer” host also posed for photos with the patients at some point during the visit.

In December 2021, Cannon and Alyssa Scott’s son, Zen, died of brain cancer. He was just 5 months old.

Soon after Zen’s birth in July 2021, Cannon said he noticed his child had a “nice-sized” head and had developed a cough, which prompted him and Scott to take their newborn to the doctor.

A Santa Claus clad Nick Cannon gave presents to sick children. nickcannon/Instagram
The “Wild ‘N Out” host made the festive visit in honor of his late son, Zen, who died of brain cancer. nickcannon/Instagram

It was then that medical professionals discovered Zen was building up fluid in his brain, and it turned out he had a malignant tumor.


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The child underwent surgery to drain the fluid, but his health later took a turn for the worse the following Thanksgiving.

“This weekend I made a valid effort to spend the most quality time I could spend with Zen,” Cannon said in a podcast episode in December 2021, announcing the death of his son.

Alyssa Scott and Cannon’s son died from a malignant brain tumor in December 2021. nickcannon/Instagram

“We woke up on Sunday … and [went] to the ocean … and then I had to fly back to New York for the show,” he tearfully said. “By the time I got in the car and was headed to the airport, I had to turn around.”

“You can’t heal until you feel,” the “All That” alum added in the heartfelt message to his listeners.

Nearly six months after Zen’s passing, Cannon, 43, and Scott announced Zen’s Light Foundation to commemorate their baby’s death.

The two founded Zen’s Light Foundation six months later to help those affected by loss and grief. itsalysssaemm/Instagram

“We are proud to announce his new foundation that will help so many others in this world,” they wrote in a joint post on Instagram in June 2022.

“‘Zen’s Light’ mission is to foster global excellence in hope, grief-care, and pediatric healthcare for families and children in need.”

Cannon told “Entertainment Tonight” at the time that he and Scott were “turning pain into purpose.”

Cannon said that they were “turning pain into purpose” by starting the foundation. nickcannon/Instagram

“To know how much joy that he brought our family, I just wanted to spread that light.”

Scott then announced in October 2022 that she and Cannon were expecting another child. She welcomed their daughter, Halo Marie, in December of that year.

Cannon shares 12 children total among six women: twin Moroccan and Monroe, 12, with Mariah Carey; sons Golden, 6, and Rise, 1, and daughter Powerful, 2, with ex Brittany Bell; twin boys Zion and Zillion, both 2, and daughter Beautiful, 1, with DJ Abby De La Rosa; son Legendary, 1, with “Selling Sunset” star Bre Tiesi; daughter Onyx, 1, with LaNisha Cole; and daughter Halo, 11 months, with Scott.