Black Eyed Peas rapper Taboo has opened up about his secret battle with testicular cancer.
The rapper started experiencing pain in his back and abdomen in 2014, but initially brushed off his flu-like symptoms until he could take the agony no more and her asked doctors to check him out. He was subsequently diagnosed with stage 2 testicular cancer.
"The very next day I went into surgery to have the mother ship removed," he tells People magazine. "But my fight had just begun. My family and the group were all in shock, but (bandmate) will.i.am instantly reached out to a great doctor who helped me figure out a treatment plan. I was racing against the clock."
The 41-year-old, real name Jaime Luis Gomez, underwent three months of "intense, aggressive" chemotherapy and at times felt like he couldn't continue. But he found strength in sports figures who had experienced the same thing.
"There were times that I wanted to give up, but I became inspired by sports figures who have gone through similar battles," he says. "I began channelling 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."
Taboo refused to tell fans about his health battle until he could say he had "made it out the other side stronger", but he began writing songs about his cancer struggle.
"I had chemo brain and kept fading in and out, but my team kept me focused because they knew how important it was," he continues.
And now Taboo has teamed up with organisers at the American Cancer Society for a campaign called The Fight, releasing a new track, called Fight.
"I've been cancer-free for over two years, but the real battle isn't over," he says. "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."