Country music star gets emotional talking about his cancer battle

Manuela Cardiga
May 25, 2018
09:05 P.M.

Country star Jackie Lee speaks about his refusal to be defined by his fight with cancer.


For the past two years, country star Jackie Lee, 26, has been facing one of the most dreaded diseases: Cancer. The illness claimed his mother's life and has threatened his twice, reported People.com.

Lee has been dealing with his anguish and his pain in an original way, by singing about it. The singer/songwriter shared his struggle not by posting on Instagram, or on Twitter, he wrote a song about what he called “the most personal time of my life.”

The song is called “Long Year” and evokes Lee’s grief over his mother’s death from ovarian cancer. At the same time, Lee was going through chemotherapy to combat his own testicular cancer.

The video of the song is compiled from home movies that recorded Lee’s grueling chemotherapy over three long and painful months.


“I hope that people know it’s coming from a real place, real emotion.”

Jackie Lee, People.com, 21st of May 2018.

Lee's first hit was a song called “Getting Over You,” which he released in 2017 and had close to 40 million Spotify plays.

Lee hopes “Long Year” sends a message of hope to anyone else who is suffering that “no matter what you’re going through, you’re going to get through it.”

Though Lee speaks those words confidently, his assurance was hard earned. Lee was still mourning his mother's death from ovarian cancer when he went to the doctor with painful, disturbing symptoms. The doctor recommended the removal of the affected testicle and a biopsy of the diseased tissue.

His mother died in 2016 at age 47, in their Tennessee hometown of Maryville and Lee, his father, and his two siblings had just been through the anguish of watching his mother's struggle with cancer.


Lee kept the possibility of his illness from his brother and sister and shared his concerns only with his father.

In December 2016 Lee had his testicle removed, and after a two-week recovery, took up his normal life. In January the test results from his tissue samples confirmed the unthinkable, that he was suffering from a stage 2 cancer.

Since the cancer had been caught so early, his doctor was hopeful that the recommended chemotherapy would be effective.

In June of 2017, Lee sat down with his co-writers, Sean McConnell and Barry Dean to start work on a new album, and he exclaimed: “Man it’s been a long year.” McConnell looked up from his guitar and said: “That’s what we’re gonna write today.”

'Long Year' turned out to be a love letter to his mother, a cry of anguish and grief. “If time’s the only thing that’s gonna heal this pain/ Then why is God stretching seconds into minutes into days?”

Just a few weeks after he recorded the song, a routine medical exam discovered that his cancer had returned, this time in his lymph system. The doctors were once again hopeful and deemed his chances at recovery as excellent.

Lee turned to his friends and family for support but confessed that breaking the news to his 15-year-old sister, Gracie, was the most difficult thing he had ever done.


Lee coped with the miseries of chemotherapy stoically. He lost his hair and his beard. He recalled that he woke up one morning and his beard was " all over my pillowcase.”

Lee ended his round of chemo, and started discussing what to do with “Long Year.” Lee felt that the song was healing, and something he wanted and needed to share. Hope and love had carried him through, and he wants to pass on that gift to every man and woman who hears the words and melody of his special song.

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