(NEW YORK) — Randy Gonzalez, the Texas father behind the popular “Enkyboys” account on social media died Wednesday at age 35, his mother Beatrice Gonzalez and brother David Gonzalez confirmed to ABC News.
Gonzalez’s death came less than one year after he announced he had been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.
Gonzalez and his son Brice became famous on TikTok for their funny father-son comedy bits and dances.
“At first, we were kind of shy but we broke out of that shell because people love Brice so much and then they love the duo of the father and son, so we were just like, ‘Let’s go! Let’s do it!"” Gonzalez told Good Morning America back in 2020 about the rise of “Enkyboys.”
Last April, Gonzalez revealed in a video post that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in November 2021.
“I kept it to myself and I felt like it was selfish because I didn’t want to tell everybody my business because it was personal. But I feel like I can use my situation to give awareness for young men like myself because I’m only 34, and they say it’s very rare for a young guy like myself to catch colon cancer,” Gonzalez said in the video at the time, adding that a doctor had told him he had a life expectancy between two and five years.
“I didn’t know how to take it. You know, it was devastating,” Gonzalez continued.
In the video, Gonzalez also opened up about one of his initial symptoms that led him to see a doctor in the first place.
“I want to help other people and start awareness for young men to go get checked for colon cancer, to go get a colonoscopy. How I figured out, I was having a problem with my upper abdomen and I was always in pain,” he said. “And luckily, my wife told me to go get a colonoscopy because I was just gonna get an EGD [esophagogastoduodenoscopy] through my throat because they thought it was a ulcer or something. But long story short, I wanted to start awareness of colon cancer for young men to start, to go get checked in the early ages, 30 years old.”
Since then, the “Enkyboys” social media accounts have featured posts aimed at raising colon cancer awareness, with Gonzalez sharing the symptoms he experienced, such as abdominal pain and constipation, and taking fans along as he underwent chemotherapy treatments.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colon or colorectal cancer is a type of cancer originating from polyps in the colon or rectum. In the U.S., it has become the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
The disease can affect men and women of any racial and ethnic background. People at increased risk of developing colon cancer include individuals with a family history of colon polyps or colon cancer and those with bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Lifestyle can also play a role and increase a person’s risk, such as a diet high in fat and low in fiber, the use of alcohol and tobacco and a lack of physical activity.
Last year, a major study showed that more young people, including more individuals of non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic descent and those between the ages of 20 and 29, have been getting diagnosed with late-stage colon cancer in recent years, prompting doctors to call for more early detection and colon cancer screenings of individuals younger than 50.
Who should get screened for colon cancer?
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and CDC currently recommend that people between the ages of 45 and 75 get regular colon cancer screenings, while those older than 75 should consult with their doctor before getting a screening. If at increased risk due to family history of colon polyps or colon cancer or for those with bowel diseases, screening may start before the age of 45, but this should be discussed with a doctor beforehand. A screening can consist of a stool test, a flexible sigmoidoscopy where a doctor places a tube in the rectum to check for polyps, a colonoscopy, or a CT colonography or virtual colonoscopy.
What are the symptoms of colon cancer?
An individual with colon cancer may not always exhibit symptoms initially, according to the CDC, and they can vary. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal aches, pain or cramps
- Bowel habit changes, including a feeling that the bowel does not empty entirely
- Blood in the stool
- Unexplained weight loss
Gonzalez is survived by his wife Kimberly and their three kids, son Brice and daughters Lauren and Nylah. Kimberley Gonzalez and her daughters also have their own TikTok and social media accounts called “Enkygirls.”
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.