Shayan Ashgarnia Jack, Mark and Skye Hoppus
Mark Hoppus is once again relishing all the small things after his cancer journey — but 16 months ago, he was feeling hopeless.
The Blink-182 bassist-vocalist was diagnosed with lymphoma in April 2021, and after his first chemotherapy treatment, he was despondent and confided in his wife of 22 years, Skye.
“I was in our living room crying and telling my wife, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’ ” Hoppus, 50, recalls in the new issue of PEOPLE. “She was like, ‘Well, what are you going to do, kill yourself?’ And that’s exactly what I was thinking. It was pretty dark.”
The cancer diagnosis had thrown Hoppus into a deep depression, and he struggled with suicidal thoughts before Skye’s wake-up call.
“It was a total snap-out-of-it moment,” he says. “I was like, ‘What a s—ty thing to say.’ But also, what a kind thing to say, like, ‘Snap out of it, you f—ing baby. You have a beatable form of cancer. It’s going to suck to get there, but get there.’ I had to do the work.”
For more on Mark Hoppus, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.
Hoppus did just that, while also depending on Skye — with whom he shares 20-year-old son Jack — throughout the ordeal.
“She researched all the best foods, like, ‘This helps with the nausea, and this helps with the dehydration, and this helps with the recovery,’ ” Hoppus says. “My wife was awesome from day one.”
Shayan Ashgarnia Mark and Skye Hoppus
Hoppus first sensed something was wrong when he felt a lump on his shoulder.
“I texted my doctor, ‘Hey, weird lump on my shoulder. It’s either a pulled muscle or a deadly lymphoma,’ ” he says. “I was trying to make a joke out of it.”
But his quip turned out to be prescient when doctors found lime-size tumors in his shoulder and stomach, a grape-size tumor in his neck and more in his abdomen; they told him he had stage 4 diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, which is generally curable if caught early.
One of the first calls Hoppus made was to his mom, Kerry Wernz, who received successful treatment for the same cancer diagnosis in 2019.
“She knew exactly what I was feeling,” he says of Wernz. “I leaned on her so much.”
Hoppus wasn’t planning to share his cancer journey publicly. But in June 2021 he accidentally posted a photo from his chemo chair to Instagram rather than DMing it to friends.
“I thought that once people found out, it would just be like, ‘Haha, f— you. You’re going to die’ — just the s—ty side of the Internet. Instead, everyone was like, ‘You’re going to get through this,’ ” Hoppus says, tearing up. “It was this rad outpouring of support from strangers. It gave me so much strength and so much hope.”
Shayan Ashgarnia Jack, Mark and Skye Hoppus with their dog Doug
The rocker focused on that positivity as he underwent treatment.
“The chemotherapy was brutal. I had no energy and ended up being on the couch just trying to get through the day,” he says. “I had the worst brain fog. We were sitting at dinner with friends that we’ve known for years, and I’m looking at the husband across the table, thinking to myself, ‘I can’t remember your first name.’ And it was like that all the time. I still feel it once every couple days — I’ll forget a word — but it’s much better.”
And on Sept. 29, 2021 — five months to the day he was diagnosed — doctors declared Hoppus cancer-free.
“Today I’m doing good. The recovery is taking a lot longer than I had hoped, but I am in a much better place,” says Hoppus. “I feel like I have a second shot at life.”
Adds Skye, also 50: “He’s a rock. He rose above and got through it…The last couple years threw a lot of wrenches in our system, but we’re on the other side of it even stronger.”
Since doctors gave him the all-clear, Hoppus has been getting back to work. He’s writing a book, launched the record company Verswire and is hosting his radio show on Apple Music.
Hoppus is also facing the future with gratitude.
“I still feel like I’m in my 20s, skateboarding and being an idiot,” he says. “In reality, I’m 50 years old and glad to be alive.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.