*Black Eyed Peas member Taboo has revealed that he privately battled cancer following a diagnosis in 2014, and has now been free of the disease for two years.
In an exclusive interview with People magazine, the artist discusses his initial symptoms, his course of treatment, the assistance of band member will.i.am and why he chose to keep the medical crisis a secret from the public.
“It all started with a pain in my back and abdomen,” he says in the magazine’s current issue. “I was so busy working that I wasn’t worried about it, but I went to the emergency room to get checked out.”
Further tests revealed that Taboo, born Jaime Luis Gomez, had stage 2 testicular cancer.
“The very next day I went into surgery to have the ‘mother ship’ removed. But my fight had just begun,” says the recording artist, who was diagnosed in June 2014. “My family and the group were all in shock, but will.i.am instantly reached out to a great doctor who helped me figure out a treatment plan. I was racing against the clock.”
Taboo underwent 12 weeks of “intense, aggressive” chemotherapy.
“There were times that I wanted to give up, but I became inspired by sports figures who have gone through similar battles. I began channeling my energy into the thing that keeps me alive and spirited: music,” he says. “I wanted to share my story and inspire others like those who had inspired me.”
So, while he chose to keep his diagnosis and treatment quiet until he could show his fans that he’d “made it out the other side stronger,” he began writing lyrics about his cancer battle and hit the recording studio.
“I had chemo brain and kept fading in and out, but my team kept me focused because they knew how important it was,” he says.
Now, Taboo has partnered with the American Cancer Society for a new campaign called The Fight to inspire others battling cancer to maintain a positive outlook and all people to get tested if they see any warning signs.
“I’ve been cancer-free for over two years, but the real battle isn’t over. We’ve just released my new song ‘Fight’ to help people face their own challenges,” says Taboo, who debuted the song on The Doctors Wednesday. “There are millions going through things like this, and I want to remind them that we don’t curl up into a ball when we have a trial or tribulation. We get up and fight.”