Damon Dash: ‘I Thought I Was Dying’ Before Diabetes Diagnosis

Damon Dash
Damon Dash arrives at screening of 'Mr. Untouchable' at The Tribeca Grand Hotel in New York City. Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Damon Dash opened up to Us Weekly about living with diabetes and how he looks at the silver lining while facing obstacles in his life.

The 46-year-old entertainment mogul, who recently launched the Dash Diabetes Network, found out he had type 1 diabetes when he was around 14 or 15 years old. “I think the circumstances when I got it, my mentality about it made it really positive because I thought I was dying when I first got diagnosed. Before I got diagnosed, I thought I was dying, and when I found out I had diabetes, I was happy to have diabetes, you understand?” he told Us. “So I never really understood why people were ashamed of it, so it was always an agenda of mine to showcase the fact that I was diabetic, and I know how much I want to learn about being diabetic, like every day there is something new to learn about it.”

Dash said it was “overwhelming” to deal with the disease before he got treatment. “I lost a lot of weight, people started to talk in school, all this was happening and I was scared to go to the doctor because I thought I was going to get the death sentence, and I was like, ‘Damn. I’m only 15. I just started having fun,’” he said. “But when they told me it was diabetes, I was like, ‘Yes! I’d take that any day.’ And also, you feel sick for a month so when you’re feeling sick, if you know there’s an opportunity not to feel sick anymore, like in my mind, I was never going to feel good again, so … if a shot was going to make me feel better, I was like, ‘I’ll take that shot all day.’”

He hopes to show people that diabetes shouldn’t stop them from following their dreams. “The main thing that I want to showcase is I did all of these things. I had a career, I have a career, I make history daily and I’m diabetic, so diabetes is not what stops anything,” he said. “A lot of people probably getting it think it’s over and s–t, look at all the things I did once I found out. I almost think that once I found out I was diabetic it made me want to live life more because I’m so appreciative of life. I thought I was I was gonna die, so I was like, ‘I need to get everything.’”

The Roc-A-Fella Records cofounder said that he always tries to keep a positive mindsets. “We get these obstacles just cause you’re strong enough to deal with them and move on. A lot of things happened in my life that people would look at as tragic — my mother died when I was 15, [my girlfriend] Aaliyah died, I’ve got all these different things happen, but all these different things happened, but my bright side is, ‘Listen, regardless I was with Aaliyah. I’m happy to know my mom. A lot of people couldn’t,’” he told Us.”There’s always going to be a good and a bad. It’s your choice on the way to look at it, so I’m always turning negative into a positive.”

He added that he thinks he has faced certain hardships in life so others can learn from him. “I think God puts certain things in front of you because you’re gonna be good for the bigger picture, you’ll be able to teach people how to deal, so for every tragedy that’s ever happened, I’ve had to deal with it publicly sort of, and I’ve had to move forward,” he shared. “When other tragedies happen to other people, I know people look to me for strength just because of the way I’ve done things, so I’m applying the same situation with my diabetes.”

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