Published Sep 7, 2021
After losing husband Gregg Leakes to colon cancer a week ago, NeNe Leakes honored his life on Monday in Atlanta, Georgia, with a Celebration of Life Memorial at Linnethia Lounge. “What a celebration it was,” she wrote on Instagram. “Packed Packed Packed!”
ET reported that other stars of The Real Housewives of Atlanta attended to pay their respects to NeNe, including Lisa Wu, Phaedra Parks, Marlo Hampton, Porsha Williams, and Eva Marcille. In an Instagram post shared two days after the celebration, Leakes revealed that the event featured performances from R&B and gospel singers including Yolanda Adams, Tamar Braxton, Keke Wyatt, Le’Andria Johnson, and Kim Burrell. Pastor Jamal Bryant also offered “words of inspiration.”
Before the event, NeNe shared a heartfelt post on social media, writing, “Today we celebrate you Gregg with love, just the way you wanted it.” She shared a picture of the pair as she embraces Gregg, with her back facing the camera, in a loving, intimate moment. In her Instagram post after the event, Leakes wrote, “I will continue to be strong and celebrate his life.”
Gregg Leakes was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2018. To treat his initial bout of the disease, he had chemotherapy and surgery. In 2019, Leakes announced that he was cancer-free, but his cancer returned in June of this year, and he had surgery again to treat it. Gregg passed at 66 from the disease on September 1, 2021.
Colon cancer is detected via colonoscopy, a screening procedure that looks for polyps – small white growths which can grow into cancer. In an earlier interview, colorectal surgeon Dr. Zuri Murrell explains this procedure, and what happens when a polyp is detected during a routine colonoscopy.
Dr. Murrell explains, “People often ask me, what do you do when you have a colonoscopy? What’s done? Do you do biopsies? So a colonoscopy can be done for many things.”
“But when we’re looking at a colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening, what we do is we’re looking for polyps, which are these small growths,” he says. “When we see a polyp, we actually physically take the polyp out through the colonoscope. What does that mean? That means we basically put a wire through with a little bit of a little flange at the end and we pull the polyp out.”
“Now, note there is no pain with that. Inside the colon, there are no pain fibers. So there’s no pain. What happens is then when we take the polyp out, we send that to a lab.” Dr. Murrell tells us that 95% of polyps are pre-cancerous, which means they could turn into cancer.
Coping with the loss of a spouse to cancer, as NeNe Leakes has experienced, can be devastating. Many people find that engaging a therapist, or a supportive community like a bereavement support group, is a helpful way to make the process feel less lonely.
Additionally, leaning on friends and family after losing a loved one to cancer is a good way to process the experience in a safe, loving environment. A Celebration of Life Memorial, like the one Leakes hosted in Atlanta, is a nice way to call upon your community to support you, while also honoring the memory of your late loved one. There is always support available when you need it – ask those who care about you to help during this difficult time.