Country music singer-songwriter Jackie Lee has seemed a little quiet lately on the musical front. Of course, it is not uncommon for artists to tuck away and work in the writing room in preparation for a new project; however, Lee’s time away from the spotlight was filled with more than music.
According to Lee’s new exclusive with PEOPLE, he underwent a cancer battle in the last twenty months, only months after he lost his mom to the vicious disease. Lee shared that he was still grieving the untimely loss of his mother when he was overcome with symptoms himself. He saw his doctor, explaining the painful experiences he had been having, and the tests were inclusive. The only option that remained was to remove the site of the potential cancer.
After the surgery, tests were run on Lee’s tissue and the results were what he feared the most — cancer. Stage 2 testicular cancer, to be specific. At first, he received the best news possible; that it was caught early enough that they got it all and chemotherapy wasn’t necessary.
It was around the same time that Lee heard the dreaded “c word” as it pertains to his own health that he parted ways with his former record label, Broken Bow. He also ended his longtime relationship with Taylor Dye of duo Maddie & Tae.
In June of 2017, life had caught up with Lee and he was feeling extremely run down. He walked into a writing room, sharing with his co-writers, Sean McConnell and Barry Dean, that he had had a long year. They decided to focus on those words and turn them into the subject of that day’s write. The result was Lee’s brand new song, shared today, “The Long Year.”
In describing the song, Lee shared with PEOPLE:
I hope that people know it’s coming from a real place, real emotion . . . no matter what you’re going through, you’re going to get through it.
Only weeks after he wrote the song, which was meant to be closure for the artist, he was given bad news by his medical team. The cancer had returned and was in his lymph system. The prognosis for Lee was still quite good, as he was prescribed chemotherapy treatments after all.
On January 16 of this year, Lee underwent his final chemotherapy treatment. Throughout his journey, he questioned his decision to move to Nashville and pursue music, but turning his story into a song made him realize why he took this path.
We wish Jackie Lee the absolute best as he continues life after cancer. To watch his brand new music video, filmed during his treatments, click here.