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Halsey reveals private health battle in "The End," first song off new album

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The singer-songwriter Halsey explores an intersection between love and illness in "The End," an emotional ballad released Tuesday as the first single off their upcoming, not-yet-titled fifth album. 

Following the success of 2021's "If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power," the Grammy nominee's newest track chronicles a chilling health struggle and a relationship underpinned by questions about mortality.

Halsey initially previewed its release on Instagram earlier this week and confirmed the drop in her latest post to the social media platform, which included videos of the artist's own medical battle, one she had not spoken about publicly before. Although Halsey did not explicitly name any particular illness in the original post, a second post shared Wednesday said she was diagnosed in 2022 with systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, as well as "a rare T-cell lymphoproliferative disorder."

"Both of which are currently being managed or in remission; and both of which I will likely have for the duration of my life," the singer wrote in the caption. "After a rocky start, I slowly got everything under control with the help of amazing doctors. After 2 years, I'm feeling better and I'm more grateful than ever to have music to turn to. I can't wait to get back where I belong: With you all."

Halsey, who uses she/they pronouns, thanked fans for their support in the 24 hours since first revealing their health trials. 

"Long story short, I'm Lucky to be alive. short story long, I wrote an album. it begins with The End. Out now," Halsey captioned the Tuesday Instagram post. Its first slide is footage of Halsey massaging their calves while seemingly in pain, with medical tape wrapped around one arm. 

"Seriously, I feel like an old lady," Halsey says in that video. "I told myself I'm giving myself two more years to be sick. At 30, I'm having a rebirth and I'm not going to be sick and I'm going to look super hot and have lots of energy. And I'm just going to get to redo my 20s in my 30s."

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Halsey attends Gold House Hosts 2024 Inaugural Gold Gala at The Music Center on May 11, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. Olivia Wong/FilmMagic

The post includes another video in which Halsey is seated in an infusion chair and wearing a face mask. Halsey tells the camera that "today is day one of treatment," before a subsequent video gives a longer look at various hospital visits that appear to have been recorded over a period of time.

A press statement issued along with the release of the new album "The End" said that in conjunction with its drop, Halsey is donating to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Lupus Research Alliance. Halsey tagged both organizations in the caption of her Instagram post. 

Leukemia and lymphoma are separate cancers, one of the blood and the other of the lymphatic system, respectively. Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks its own healthy tissue. It can potentially affect joints, skin, circulation and a range of organs. T-cell lymphoproliferative disorders can present in different ways, including various forms of leukemia and lymphoma, according to the National Institute of Health.

"Every couple of years now, a doctor says I'm sick/ Pulls out a brand new bag of tricks/ And then they lay it on me/ And at first, it was my brain, then a skeleton in pain/ And I don't like to complain, but I'm saying sorry," Halsey sings in the opening verse of "The End." 

Halsey has opened up about different health struggles in the past, including being diagnosed in 2022 with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Sjogren's syndrome, mast cell activation syndrome, or MCAS, and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS. At the time, Halsey said doctors were still searching for a root cause possibly related to autoimmunity.  

This story has been updated to reflect that Halsey uses the pronouns she and they.

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