Magician Criss Angel Opens Up About How 'Difficult' It Is to Watch 5-Year-Old Son's Cancer Battle
Magician Criss Angel is opening up about his 5-year-old son Johnny Crisstopher’s cancer battle.
The illusionist — who shares Johnny with Shaunyl Benson — shared details of the little boy’s chemotherapy as he presented the Magic Wand Award to a Make-A-Wish volunteer at his Criss Angel MINDFREAK show at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas Saturday.
“As a parent going through this myself, you kind of see it from both sides of the perspective,” Angel, 52, said, per Entertainment Tonight. “I was somebody who used to just work with children that were sick. Then I had a son who was diagnosed with pediatric cancer.”
“So, I understand, with a son who just had a relapse, what it’s really like, moment by moment, and how difficult it is to look at your child who should be worrying about what toy they’re playing with,” Angel added. “Instead, they’re worrying about treatment that’s literally putting poison into their body.”
“My son will be 8 years old when he’s done and six years of his life, he has been doing chemo treatments. I am going through this now,” Angel continued, before addressing Stephanie Driscoll, the recipient of this year’s Magic Wand Award.
“Stephanie [Driscoll] has been a friend,” Angel said, ET reported. “Her family is beautiful and amazing. Her little daughter, Avery, was truly an angel. I had the honor of knowing her for years, seeing her when she was in remission, seeing her when she had relapsed. There is nothing more important in the world than these kids, and Make-A-Wish understands that.”
Earlier this month, Angel revealed in an interview with TMZ that Johnny was going back to the hospital after his cancer returned following a brief remission. Johnny was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2015.
“Johnny Crisstopher — he got diagnosed with pediatric cancer before he was 2 years old — he’s been in treatment for over three years, he’s been in remission,” Angel said, “but unfortunately … he had a relapse and he’s going back into the hospital on Monday.”
A rep for Angel did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment at the time.
In 2016, Angel opened up to PEOPLE about the moment when he learned Johnny had been diagnosed with cancer, saying he felt “helpless.” Angel also shared that it was difficult watching his son experience the side effects of cancer treatments, which included hair loss and behavioral changes.
“Johnny is a happy, fun, loving boy, but the steroid treatments have a profound effect on his mood,” he explained. Johnny began throwing “violent” tantrums. “That’s hard to see, but that’s not our Johnny. That’s the steroids,” Angel said.
“My son is supposed to outlive me. I’d rather it be me that was sick,” Angel added at the time. “I want Johnny’s future to be long and happy. That kid is just a bundle of love. He’s the truest form of magic.”