INFINITE‘s Nam Woohyun made his solo comeback after nearly two years, releasing his first full-length solo album, WHITREE, on November 28, 2023.
Ahead of his comeback promotions, Woohyun shocked fans when he announced via an interview with TheKoreaTimes that he had been silently battling a rare type of cancer– gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)– which begins in the digestive system.
In his interview, he revealed that he underwent surgery in early 2023 and started a road to recovery that was more extensive than he expected, but he was supported by family, nurses, and fellow hospital patients, who encouraged him to recover and return to his career as a musical artist.
I feel as if I were reborn after the surgery. My thoughts have deepened and I’ve achieved musical maturity. My first album following my battle against cancer encapsulates much of this journey. For those who are facing hardships in their lives, I hope my music can serve as a source of courage, inspiring them to overcome challenges like I did.
— INFINITE’s Woohyun
In a recent interview with soloist Lee Mujin on his musical talk show Leemujin Service, Woohyun opened up more about his diagnosis and why he had initially kept it a secret.
Woohyun shared that he initially kept his diagnosis a secret from fans because he didn’t want them to worry. He also felt it would be uncomfortable to repeatedly tell people he was ill.
He decided that he would reveal his diagnosis after his surgery, and after some time had passed in his recovery. He added that he is currently about 70% recovered.
Despite his then-secret battle, Woohyun remained dedicated to his career, joining INFINITE for their first comeback as a full group in five years in 2023, not wanting to inconvenience his fellow members by altering their planned schedules due to his recovery from surgery.
He shared that he decided to move forward with his solo album release the same year, despite his company advising him to rest, because he had so many good songs come to mind.
He admitted he didn’t want to let fans down, who had been waiting for his solo comeback, so he moved forward with his solo album release with the full support of his company.
Check out Woohyun’s full discussion in the video below: