The South Side native said that in his 33 years of life, he had never been treated at the hospital and considered himself very healthy. But everything changed in November, when he was admitted to the ICU due to COVID-19. He said he wasn’t sure when, and sometimes if, he would make it out alive.
A Grammy-nominated singer, producer and artist, Jeremih is used to making headlines for his songs and talent, not for his health and certainly not because he was fighting for his life against COVID-19.
“It is very real,” he said. “I had to go through this and I would hate that anyone else had to go through this too.”
WATCH: Full interview with Jeremih, Chance The Rapper
Jeremih said that days before he was hospitalized, he realized that something looked strange in his body.
“On second thought, I knew I was dehydrated and could have thought I had a cold, so I was taking NyQuil,” he recalled. “It wasn’t like I had an immediate reaction to something. I knew something wasn’t right.”
From there, he said that all he can remember is one night waking up in the hospital, not knowing where he was and what had happened.
His diagnosis was of complications due to COVID-19 and, as a result, his body was suffering from multiple inflammatory syndrome, a condition that causes inflammation in important organs.
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“My heart was beating irregularly. My liver and kidneys were out of control. I can talk about it now because, thank God, I did it and I’m still here, but I was on dialysis. It was in things I can only remember my grandparents talking about being so young, “said Jeremih.
“They kept telling me that the numbers were not improving,” he added. “I’m like, when did my body get so bad? I’ve never had a problem with it in my entire life, for 33 years! Having everything turned off, I’m like, man.”
Jeremih said there were times when he thought about giving up. He wasn’t sure he could fight any more. But he thought of his mother and his two children, and he knew he had to keep fighting to survive.
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For some people, especially young people, the news that the beloved singer was in the ICU with COVID-19 was an alert, helping them to realize that the virus was real and serious.
“If I had to be an example, I will accept it, because many people may be taking it for granted, still partying and among their friends. It happened to me and I am one of the few that I managed,” he said.
The singer said he had to learn to eat and walk again in therapy.
“I was weak. I went in there probably weighing 220 and left with 175. I’m like, I’m almost skin and bones,” he said. “I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, to go through what I went through.”
Now, he says, he feels much better and, as he continues to recover, he is not alone; Chance that the Rapper has been fighting him every step of the way.
“This is one of my best friends!” Chance said. “The way you think about artists is like, they are co-workers, this is my real friend. He knows my family, I know his family. So, yes, we were all affected by that.”
The two artists are now together again with a new collaboration, releasing a joint album called “Merry Christmas Lil Mama: The Gift that Keeps on Giving” and an unprecedented holiday concert film called “Chi-Town Christmas”.
“The whole project is very Chicago. The show was filmed entirely in Chicago, a kind of attempt to put the Chicago film industry back to work. The Chicago Children’s Choir is in the film. A very Chicago production,” said Chance.
At a time when so many are unsure of what the future holds, Chance and Jeremih hope that their new projects will help restore hope.
“You have to keep fighting. You have to keep going through this. You have to recognize it as part of your journey that will become your past later. There are green pastures ahead,” said Chance.
“I have had time to sit down and reevaluate my entire life, my career and my purpose on Earth now,” said Jeremih.
Jeremih said he is grateful to the Northwestern Memorial Hospital team for helping him fight the virus. This year he lost his father and grandfather, making it a devastating year. But he wants to spend the next part of his life making his father, grandfather and the rest of Chicago proud.
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