The Walking Dead marked a fan-favorite character for death with Sunday night's episode 10x04. The shocking reveal came towards the end of the episode titles What It Always Is as an unexpected twist which is completely unique by comparison to Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead comics. It is unclear how much time the character has left on the series but the illness revealed in this character is not something to be taken lightly as their time surviving in the apocalypse seems to have officially been limited. This is the first time the AMC series has explored any storyline involving cancer, though disease has been an issue in the past.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 10x04 follow. Major spoilers!
In a heartfelt exchange between Ezekiel and Siddiq, the former King of the Kingdom revealed himself to have a tumor on his neck. It has been causing him to cough and experience random spats of pain but he knows it to by thyroid cancer, a condition which has plagued his family. According to King Ezekiel, he has known about the tumor for "a month" and he says "it's grown since then."
Ezekiel does not have a positive outlook in regards to his current health issue. "Growing up, my grandmother went through it. Then, my father. Pain, coughing, swelling," he explained. "I watched them fight it and win. Did you know thyroid cancer had a 98% percent survival rate? Different times. Times of sorcery and witchcraft. Chemo, iodine, radiation therapy, thyroidectomies. Now, we both know what is means."
It's unclear if this thyroid cancer is going to get the best of Ezekiel or not but there is no sign of treatment being available for him any time soon. It's an interesting move by the writers, considering Ezekiel escaped his fate from the comics which saw his head being put on a pike by the Whisperers. The moment was realized on the TV series in Season 9 and Ezekiel dodged it.
"I miss the King. I miss the guy we met who gave that speech to his people before they were decimated," Ezekiel actor Khary Payton told ComicBook.com. "I still got a big bone to pick with Rick and everybody because I feel like the King was just cruising, doing just fine. I mean until that high caliber gun came out, we were kicking ass all over the place and it only took Ezekiel losing hundreds of people and both of his adopted sons for him to crack and be a truly dropped down to earth. But I hope that he can climb out of this whole hole. I still am pining for the day that Ezekiel finds his mojo or whatever term you want to call it and starts to see more of the light and less of the darkness."
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC.