Rapper Fat Joe is sending his eldest child, Joey, who has autism, a heartwarming birthday message.
“Life is full of surprises. I was just a kid at 19 years old when i had Joey. It was one of the scariest days of my life. Doctors said he wouldn’t be normal and kids like this are hard to deal with,” the 51-year-old rapper began an Instagram post on Wednesday.
Fat Joe (whose real name is Joseph Cartagena) said he never considered “giving up” on Joey.
“He’s my jr.,” he wrote, adding that “it’s a lot of work and it’s constant sacrifice that parents make to keep their children happy and most of all safe.”
Fat Joe went on to explain that he’s always kept Joey “out of the limelight” because he wanted to protect him.
“Joey has accomplished above and beyond & i also believe he keeps my parents alive cause they love him sooooooo much,” he gushed. “How do you tell your best friend and most loyal one thank you??. I am so proud of Joey he’s my heart & soul. I love you Joey, we all love you Joey, thank you for being my Biggest blessing in life! Happy Birthday Joey, God bless you.”
In the sweet photo, Fat Joe is seen with his arms wrapped around a smiling Joey.
“My mom had him on her school bus when he was younger, she always spoke about him. He is a great person,” one fan wrote in the comments.
Added another, “That’s awesome. I never knew this about you and because of this post I like you more than ever.”
Fat Joe has sons Joey and Ryan from previous relationships. He shares his 15-year-old daughter, Azariah, with his wife, Lorena Cartagena, to whom he has been married since 1995.
On Wednesday, Lorena shared several pictures of Joey on her Instagram stories.
In 2010, Fat Joe opened up about the challenges of being a young dad with a special needs child.
“I raised him with my parents,” he told UrbLife.com. “His mom couldn’t handle him, and instead of him going to a center we raised him all his life.”