The 41-year-old rapper, whose real name is Jaime Luis Gomez, reveals he was diagnosed with stage 2 testicular cancer in June 2014 in a new interview, and that he went through 12 weeks of intense, aggressive chemotherapy out of the public eye. Taboo says he was diagnosed after going to the emergency room for what he thought was the flu.
“It all started with a pain in my back and abdomen,” he tells People. “The very next day I went into surgery to have the ‘mother ship’ removed. But my fight had just begun.”
The rapper says his family and bandmates — will.i.am., Fergie, and apl.de.ap — were all in shock, though there wasn’t much time to process the news. Taboo immediately underwent treatment after getting the diagnosis.
“Will.i.am instantly reached out to a great doctor who helped me figure out a treatment plan,” he shares. “I was racing against the clock.”
“There were times that I wanted to give up, but I became inspired by sports figures who have gone through similar battles,” he adds. “I began channeling my energy into the thing that keeps me alive and spirited: music. I wanted to share my story and inspire others like those who had inspired me.”
Unfortunately, his health didn’t always permit him to do so.
“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 about recording music during his cancer battle.
Taboo now says he’s been cancer-free for two years. He’s partnered with the American Cancer Society for a new campaign called “The Fight” to inspire others battling cancer, and to encourage people to get tested. He just released a new song called “Fight” for the inspiring campaign.
“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,” he explains. “We get up and fight.”
On Wednesday, Taboo promoted his appearance on The Doctors to talk about his experience. “By the grace of God I’m alive and along with my partner @americancancersociety we are gonna help millions of people going thru the same fight I went thru — I will use my platform for my bigger purpose – #cancersurvivor #warrior #Th3FIGHT #hope #inspiration