updated 03/01/2012 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/02/2012 AT 8:45 AM ET
Nick Cannon is opening up about his ongoing health problems that came to light after he was hospitalized for kidney failure in January and then hospitalized again, weeks later, with blood clots in his lungs.
“The blood clot thing was probably the scariest because … I’ve known people who have passed away from that,” he told PEOPLE at New York’s Teqa Restaurant and Tequila Bar, where he was deejaying an event Wednesday night.
“I thought I was getting better,” said Cannon, 31, “and then that happened, so that kind of came out of nowhere.”
Cannon, who stepped down from his New York-based radio show in February to continue his recovery, said doctors have told him his kidney condition is “something I’m going to be living with all my life.”
“I’m just trying to make sure I put my health first,” he told PEOPLE, adding that he tries to get six hours of sleep a night and has been taking it easy at home.