INFINITE’s Nam Woo Hyun Opens Up About His Cancer Battle Before His Solo Comeback

infinite nam woohyun cancer
infinite nam woohyun cancer
Credit: BLADE Entertainment

INFINITE’s Nam Woo Hyun recently made a surprising and brave confession about his battle with cancer. Fans were shocked to learn that he was fighting cancer, especially since he had been actively participating in INFINITE’s comeback and successful concert just this July after a five-year hiatus.

Nam Woo Hyun revealed that he was diagnosed with GIST cancer (Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor), a rare form of cancer that occurs in the muscle layer of the gastrointestinal tract and affects fewer than 20 people per million. A small tumor discovered during a health checkup two years ago had grown into a 4cm mass, which could potentially reach 15cm if left untreated, prompting him to undergo surgery.

Speaking about his experience, Nam said, “I woke up, and my abdomen had been cut open. I was in a panic for a week, struggling to even breathe and eat. I couldn’t eat for two months and had all kinds of thoughts. I managed through, thanks to the support from my parents, the agency, and my members.”

His recent activities with INFINITE were carried out despite his condition. “Hearing about celebrities’ illnesses makes people sad. That’s why I didn’t say anything. Even the INFINITE album almost got delayed because of me, but I decided to push through despite the pain because I’d rather be in pain on stage,” he shared. But the singer assured, “I’m fine now. I thought of taking a break, but the people around me encouraged me. My recovery has been quick, and I’ve been exercising regularly. A recent follow-up examination showed that my wound is healing well.”

On why he chose to make a solo comeback at this time, Nam explained, “It had been too long since my last solo release. I was supposed to release a single in May, but it was canceled due to my surgery. I felt sad that I couldn’t release an album due to my illness, so I decided not to delay it any further.”

His upcoming album WHITREE, set to be released at 6 PM on the 28th KST, is his first solo full album in seven years. The album name reflects his initials (Wh) and his nickname, Tree, with the letter I symbolizing his fans, Inspirits. He worked on this album for 10 months, reviewing around 200 demo songs. The album contains 11 tracks, with Nam participating in the lyrics and composition of five songs, including the title track “Baby Baby.”

“I wanted to include a lot of my own stories,” said Nam Woo Hyun. “As an idol who sings ballads and dances, I didn’t really have a platform to tell my story. Translating that into music takes a lot of effort and time. I wanted to give courage to those who listen to my songs.”

Track 7, “I’ll be alright,” reveals the singer’s deep inner thoughts. He described the song as “containing my struggles and serving as a self-comforting track.” He confessed, “Older artists used to say popularity is like a wave. It comes and goes, and that I should enjoy while I can. But I feel I didn’t enjoy those moments fully. I was always anxious about whether it would last.”

Nam Woo Hyun expressed his satisfaction with the album, “I’m very pleased with it. Being my first full album, it holds a lot of affection. I think lots of people will love it.” Lastly, he expressed his wish, “I want to be known as an all-rounder. I’m confident in dancing, ballads, rock ballads, funky music, city pop, and even in writing songs. I hope people recognize me as a talented lyricist and musician.”

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