“Today the Leakes family is in deep pain with a broken heart. After a long battle with cancer, Gregg Leakes has passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by all of his children, very close loved ones and wife Nene Leakes,” the family said in a statement provided to USA TODAY Wednesday by publicist Ernest Dukes.
The statement continued: “We ask that you pray for peace and strength over their family & allow them to mourn in private during this very very difficult time.”
Gregg was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in May 2018. NeNe publicly announced he was battling cancer that same year in June and shared the couple’s “new normal” in a doctor’s office. In 2019, NeNe announced her husband was cancer-free.
In May 2020, the businessman reflected on his diagnosis: “2 years ago today I was told I had cancer. I remember being sad inside but I knew I had to be strong on the outside as much as I could… I thank my wife for taking excellent care of me and loving me even tho I wasn’t an easy patient.”
Earlier this year in June, NeNe announced that her husband’s cancer had returned.
“I’d love everybody to pray for Gregg. That would be beautiful: Pray for his strength,” she said during a video interview with The Jasmine Brand at the time. “And pray for me, too.”
Before his death, Nene revealed in late August that her “husband (was) transitioning to the other side” and “dying” during an emotional exchange shared across social media after she was heckled by fans at an Atlanta bar.
The couple first married in 1997 and share two children: Bryson and Brentt. After splitting in 2011, the couple remarried in 2013 during a ceremony filmed for Bravo’s spin-off “I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding.”
“You have been my light,” Gregg told his bride. “I couldn’t do this without you. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t even try. So I want to thank you, baby.”
Leakes appeared on Bravo’s “RHOA” alongside his wife from 2008-2019 (NeNe left the show in 2020). His battle with cancer was documented in the show’s later seasons.
NeNe recalled the dire moments leading up to Gregg’s diagnosis during the Bravo show’s Season 11 premiere in November 2018.
“It was Cinco de Mayo,” the reality star recalled. “Gregg was in excruciating pain. Like, I’ve never seen him say, ‘I’m hurting so bad, the pain is so bad in my stomach.’ And finally, he said to me, ‘Take me to the hospital.’ “
Gregg had to undergo surgery to remove part of his colon that was “infected.” NeNe said they “weren’t prepared to hear that.”
“The scariest part about all of this is when we got to the hospital and the doctor saying that, ‘We need to do surgery on you tonight or you ain’t going to make it,'” Gregg explained.
The businessman survived the surgery, and at the time, shared his newfound outlook on life: “You never know what’s in you until you at that door. I never thought I had it in me to fight cancer. Now, I want to beat cancer’s (expletive).”
SOURCE: USA Today – Cydney Henderson