T-Boz turns 50: “Doctors Said I Wouldn’t Live Past My 30’s & Never Have Kids”

(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Tionne Watkins, better known as T-Boz, a member of the legendary, multi-platinum girl group TLC,  recently celebrated her 50th birthday. After devoting more than 30 years of her life to the music industry, Watkins and fellow group member, Ronzonda “Chilli” Thomas, finished up their fifth and final studio album and are still touring to sold-out shows around the world.

As T-Boz celebrates her birthday and many successes, we’re taking time to reflect on the history of her health condition and a time when she was told that she wouldn’t even be here today to tell the story.

T-Boz’s History with Sickle Cell Anemia

In early 2010, T-Boz revealed she had secretly suffered from complications related to a brain tumor in addition to battling sickle cell anemia.

The TLC star and mother of one revealed that she has been waging a secret battle against a brain tumor that was diagnosed in 2006, saying that she underwent a seven-hour surgical procedure that same year, during which doctors peeled the tumor from her brain stem by making a cut behind her ear. She says she was determined to not make her struggle known to the public.

“I didn’t want pity. I was there to help sick children,” T-Boz says. “Because people are often shocked to hear news like that, I kept it under wraps until now so that I can focus on service, and on raising money for the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia. I was not interested in gaining pity for myself.”

While the surgery was successful, it left T-Boz with one side effect: poor balance. In her recovery, she educated others on sickle cell anemia while working on new music with a positive message.

“Doctors, they didn’t give me a happy ending,” T-Boz told CNN in 2011, reflecting on her brain tumor and her sickle cell anemia. “‘You won’t live past 30, you’ll be disabled your whole life. You’ll never have kids.’ I was looking around the room like, ‘I don’t know who he’s talking to cause that’s not my story.'”

Apparently, T-Boz was right. Just take a look at beautiful daughter, Chase, below:

T-Boz and Daughter

Types of Brain Tumors

Tumors that originate within brain tissue are known as primary brain tumors. Primary brain tumors are classified by the type of tissue in which they arise. The most common brain tumors are gliomas, which begin in the glial (supportive) tissue. There are several types of gliomas, including the following: